Multi-disciplinary artist Cannupa Hanska Luger—who is of Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Lakota, and European descent—was born on the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota in 1979, and lives and works in Glorieta, New Mexico. An enrolled member the Three Affiliated Tribes of Fort Berthold (Arikara, Mandan, and Hidatsa), Luger works with a wide array of media—video, performance, ceramic, textiles, found materials, and most recently paper—to activate cultural and social awareness around urgent issues relating to 21st century Indigeneity through his combinatory, large-scale installations. Through his work, he creates performances, video, and aesthetic environments that focus on Indigenous histories andlived experiences that are not rooted in a colonialist or anthropological gaze.
Cannupa Hanska Luger’s solo exhibition at the Nevada Museum of Art is accompanied by a hardcover, 124-page book co-published by the Nevada Museum of Art, Dieu Donné, and the Garth Greenan Gallery, New York. Speechless features a monumental installation of a large-scale radio tower made of lodgepole and white pine poles that echo cargo cult structures. The book is a result of a special collaboration with Luger, Small Editions, and the publishers on the occasion of his exhibition at the Museum and residency last year at Dieu Donné. The first book to focus exclusively on Luger’s multi-media art, it showcases the new body of work the artist made for his exhibition Speechless. Part exhibition catalog and part artist book, the unique publication explores the relationship between the process of making the artwork in the exhibition and the finished result of the exhibition. By dividing the book into different sections, various aspects of the artistic process are revealed. The first unbound section visually highlights the sculptures in the exhibition and features a conversation about them between Cannupa Hanska Luger and his close friend and collaborator Eden Pearlstein. Embedded into the pages of this unbound section, is another smaller insert that specifically highlights the process of making the paper feathers and bustles at Dieu Donné. The second bound section of the book highlights the exhibition itself, including lavish color photographs of the installation, along with an artist statement developed by Luger and Eden Pearlstein, and an expository essay from the exhibition’s curator Apsara DiQuinzio on Luger’s artwork and the complicated history of cargo cults—a phenomenon that underpins Luger’s exhibition. Finally, an essay by Tatiana Ginsberg, a master paper maker, discusses working with Luger at Dieu Donné.