Museum of Contemporary Native Arts

The Vision Project Gallery: James Luna – Rock & Roll Photo Coup

August 19 – December 31, 2011

James Luna, Half Indian/Half Mexican, 1991, Black and White photo on masonite, 30” x 24”

James Luna, Half Indian/Half Mexican, 1991, Black and White photo on masonite, 30” x 24”

Rock & Roll Photo Coup is the first survey of internationally renowned artist James Luna’s photographic works. The exhibition includes both recent and prominent past works playfully merging his performance ideals into stills. Akin to his performative work, Luna addresses issues interrelated to cultural identity, representation/history and the spiritual world head on with biting humor and irony. Rock & Roll Photo Coup is a lesson in the expressive body of work challenging the standard of performance photographic documentation.

About the artist: James Luna is a Luiseno Indian who resides on the La Jolla Indian Reservation. He holds a BFA from the University of California, Irvine and an MS in Counseling from San Diego State University. His installations have been described as transforming gallery spaces into battlefields, where the audience is confronted with the nature of cultural identity, tensions generated by cultural isolation and dangers of cultural misinterpretation — all from a Native perspective. He addresses the mythology of what it means to be “Indian” in contemporary American society and exposes the hypocrisy of the dominant society, which trivializes Indian people as romantic stereotypes. Luna has exhibited across the US, Canada, Japan and the UK.


The Vision Project Gallery exhibitions Rock and Roll Photo Coup is made possible in part by New Mexico Arts, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Ford Foundation.

Click here Guest Essay by Amber Dawn Bear Robe