Filmmakers and Producers

James Luna

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."


Indian Having Coffee With Kerouac, Ginsberg and Hemingway
James Luna
1994, 23 min., Color, US
Visual and performance artist James Luna takes these famous American writers and parallels their spiritual, political and emotional state to the American Indian community. The icons are played by Indian people who talk freely and interject scenes with readings from the writers' own words. The parody...

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TWN acknowledges that in New York we are on the unceded territory of the Lenni Lenape, Canarsie, Shinecock, and Munsee peoples and challenges the harm that continues to be inflicted upon Indigenous and People of Color communities here and abroad, which is why we all need to be part of the struggle for rights, equality and justice.

TWN is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Color Congress, MOSAIC, New York Community Trust, Peace Development Fund, Humanities NY, Ford Foundation, Hollywood Foreign Press Association, and individual donors.