Internationally-recognized for his installation and performance art, James Luna (Luiseño) does work that confronts and challenges commonly-held stereotypes about Native Americans, museums, art, and life, and does it with irony, humor, sorrow, and a strong sense of story-telling in motion. Luna was selected by NMAI to participate in the 2005 Venice Biennale with the performance installation Emendatio. He has directed an experimental video concerned with Native conversation and the "coffeehouse" culture of the Beat generation, and has also been the subject of several films about his performances and ideas, including a segment of the 2005 PBS magazine series Race Is the Place. Luna's performances and work have been presented at the Hemispheric Institute's 2005 Encuentro "Performing 'Heritage'" in Belo Horizonte, Brazil; the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Swiss Institute and the American Indian Community House in New York; National Gallery of Art in Ottawa; Hood Museum of Art in Hanover, New Hampshire; and San Diego Museum of Man. He is on the faculty of Palomar College and San Diego State University, and has lectured about art at Harvard University and other colleges. He lives on the La Jolla Reservation, a Luiseño community on the slopes of Mount Palomar, north of San Diego.
"There is a strategy to get people to listen to you. I used to holler at them. These days I talk of our similarities as people before I talk of cultural differences between us. It seems to work better."
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