Cross Currents

Center for Visual Art

November 22, 2013 – February 8, 2014

  • Opening Reception and Artist Talk: Friday, November 22, 6-8pm with artists Cannupahanska, Frank Buffalo Hyde, Nicholas Galanin, Merritt Johnson, Sarah Ortegon, Wendy Red Star, Sarah Sense, Will Wilson
  • Collective Visions MSU Denver Faculty Lecture: Tuesday, December 3, 6pm with Assistant Professor Adriana Nieto, Chicano/a Studies and Assistant Professor Matt Jenkins, Art
  • Interactive Tintype Workshops: February 6-8, 2014; Work with photographer Will Wilson to learn the process of tintype photography

Artist Will Wilson - photo by Ken Hamel/

Merritt Johnson, “Emergency Mantle for Diplomatic Security and Near Invisibility” (detail)
mixed media, 2013‌

Metropolitan State University of Denver, Center for Visual Art presents Cross Currents, an exhibition that interrogates the constructs of cultural identity, the power of representation and the ways in which meaning shifts depending on the origin of an image.

The artists of Cross Currents represent the spirit of innovation by blending elements found in traditional Native American art with meaning and strategies born of 21st century art making, adding unique voices to the visual language of today. From this platform they present new possibilities for understanding the complexities of cultural identity from the varied perspective of individuals with different indigenous backgrounds. Acts of misrepresentation and appropriation of traditional symbols propagated by mass media are confronted head-on, while declarations of individuality, rejecting labels and stereotypes, offer new models of self-ascribed cultural identification.

The wide range of expression and media found in the exhibition demonstrates the futility of attempting to confine artists of native descent to one category. A common thread, however, is found in the exploration of identity, traversing between indigenous heritages and life in the twenty-first century. These artists neither exist nor create art in the vacuum of a singular society, but flow through the many influences of contemporary life and art, while challenging preconceptions of a singular Native American culture frozen in the past.

Cross Currents is the second of two CVA exhibitions, curated by CVA creative director Cecily Cullen, that feature the work of innovative artists engaging in a cross-cultural dialogue regarding Native American legacies in the context of contemporary art.

Artists: Cannupahanska, Nicholas Galanin, Frank Buffalo Hyde, Merritt Johnson, Sarah Ortegon, Wendy Red Star, Sarah Sense, Marie Watt, Will Wilson

Center for Visual Art
Metropolitan State University of Denver
965 Santa Fe Drive
Denver, CO 80204
Tue-Fri: 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Sat: 12:00 - 5:00 PM