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“Making Visible” features artworks from ASU Art Museum’s permanent collections and examines how these objects perpetuate and fortify mythologies of the American West. With over 90% of the Museum’s 13,000+ objects entering the collection as gifts, this exhibition questions how the perspective of donors reflects specific tastes and fantasies about the Southwest. Further, it explores how museums create cultural narratives based on available objects without considering what is missing. Centering people and their stories, the exhibition seeks to redress and restore the archival silences and gaps in the museum’s collections by interrogating how racism, sexism, settler colonialism and other exclusionary practices produced a collection that centers Eurocentricity.

“Making Visible” is organized in collaboration with a community of advisors composed of activists, scholars and artists that lend important and yet historically excluded cultural perspectives. The museum worked with NY-based artist Miguel Luciano to develop the exhibition design, audience experience and public programs along with Amelia Hay, learning and co-creation specialist. In addition, they commissioned Jacob Meders, local artist and member of the Mechoopda Indian Tribe of Chico Rancheria, to write labels looking critically at several of the historical artworks in the exhibition. The curatorial team includes Julio César Morales, senior curator; Mary-Beth Buesgen, curator of collections and archives; Brittany Corrales, curator; Ninabah Winton, Windgate assistant curator of contemporary craft and design fellow and Abby Sutton, Windgate curatorial assistant.

Click here to learn more about the Black cowboys of Arizona and their impact on Arizona history through their military service as Buffalo Soldiers. 

“Making Visible” is sponsored by the Terra Foundation for American Art with generous support from the ASU Art Museum Boards and Councils.

World-renowned artist Hank Willis Thomas unveiled this monumental 10-foot tall stainless steel sculpture during Super Bowl LVII, Arizona 2023 where it was installed in the iconic Super Bowl Experience at the Phoenix Convention Center and then in the Great Lawn outside the State Farm Stadium during Super Bowl LVII. Capturing the essence of Thomas’ artistic practice, this latest sculpture draws from his 2015 sculpture “Opportunity,” which was inspired by the NFL, and as part of his interest in photographic history, popular culture, and sports as a metaphor for individual and collective struggle or hope. “Hank’s powerful sculpture showcased during Super Bowl week beautifully represents the passion, strength, and hope at the heart of our game,” said Peter O’Reilly, NFL Executive Vice President of Club Business & League Events.

The artwork falls within Thomas’ “Punctum” series, which is based on Roland Barthes’ photographic theory of the punctum referring to the detail in an image that pierces or wounds the viewer, creating a direct relationship between them and the pictured object or person. Thomas uses this concept to select or reframe areas of images, which he then transforms into large-scale sculptures. “Opportunity (reflection)” portrays a snapshot of an anonymous player whose arm extends outward to catch the football. The viewer is reflected back in the mirrored surface and invited to imagine these tense few moments, filled with great anticipation, the successful catch leading to success and celebration, as well as loss and defeat for the opposing team.

 

 

Crafting Resistance looks at the ways in which we understand and view the term craft and its relationship to fine art. The exhibition seeks to flatten the western European art historical cannon and hierarchy and unhinge the binary that often places ‘fine art’ and ‘craft’ at odds with one another. Artists in the exhibition utilize materials and modes of production that are often relegated to what is historically viewed as craft, mediums such as glass, textile, felt, miniature, and wood, and instrumentalize them to make commentary about some of today’s most pressing issues, including climate catastrophe, representation, geo-politics, and migration.

Special thanks to artists Sama Alshaibi, Merryn Omotayo Alaka, Andrew Erdos, Maria Hupfield, Yasue Maetake, Jayson Musson, Eric-Paul Riege, Curtis Talwst Santiago, and Sam Frésquez, with additional thanks to the exhibition’s community of practice, Joe Baker (Delaware), Bonn Baudelaire (Cocopah), and Sharah Nieto (Yucatec Maya).

Curated by Erin Joyce with support from Abby Sutton, ASU Art Museum Windgate Intern.

Sponsors:

The Edward Jacobson Fund

Kevin and Alexis Cosca

Theresa M. Shoemaker

Christian and Allison Lester