Above: L.frank, Even Where the Ancestors Live, n.d. Acrylic on canvas, 17 3/4 x 17 3/4 in. Collection of the artist © L.frank

(SACRAMENTO, CA — UDPATED October 18, 2019) The Crocker Art Museum is pleased to announce the October 20 opening of "When I Remember I See Red: American Indian Art and Activism in California," an exhibition that highlights recurring themes explored by contemporary Indian Artists including identity, human impact on the environment, social justice, and the intersection of Native cultures with contemporary American culture.

The exhibition spans five decades of work by more than 40 First Californians and other American Indian artists with strong ties to the state. Among them are pioneers as well as emerging and mid-career artists, many of whom combine art and activism to produce innovative work in various media including painting, sculpture, prints, photography, and video.

All 70 works are drawn from private collections and museums throughout the United States, with many from the Crocker’s permanent collection.

"For decades, indigenous artists have been exploring their collective experience with diverse stories ranging from trauma and survival to adaptation and triumph," says Crocker Art Museum Director and CEO, Lial A. Jones. "The field of contemporary American Indian art is flourishing, and we are delighted to draw attention to so many artists who work to sustain Native culture."

This exhibition is one of two shows at the Crocker this fall exploring the art and culture of several distinct Native American communities. Pueblo Dynasties: Master Potters from Matriarchs to Contemporaries, featuring more than 200 pieces by premier potters from the American Southwest, will be on view from September 22, 2019 — January 5, 2020.

Geri Montano, A is for Apple; I is NOT for Indian, 2016. Acrylic, ink, graphite, charcoal collage on paper, 51 x 51 in. Crocker Art Museum, gift of Loren G. Lipson, M.D. 2016.89 © Geri Montano

Borrowed from the title of a poem by bell hooks, “when I remember I see red” is a phrase laden with allusions to memory, race, bloodshed, and anger. The phrase also evokes indigenous identity and experience in the United States over the past half millennium.

For many artists in this exhibition, the concept of an existence tied to tribal origins is fundamental. Many process the implications of their inherited legacy through work that is frequently geared toward broader awareness of indigenous issues and positive political change. While some celebrate their culture through beauty and humor, others call out oppressive systems, cultivate awareness, and promote justice in their imagery.

The exhibition transcends borders, with some California artists working outside the state, and several artists of non-California tribes living and creating within its boundaries:

  • Tony Abeyta
  • Dugan Aquilar
  • Linda Aguilar
  • Rick Bartow
  • Bob Benson
  • George Blake
  • Richard Bluecloud Castaneda
  • Dalbert Castro
  • Gerald Clarke, Jr.
  • Spencer Keeton Cunningham
  • Frank Day
  • Lewis deSoto
  • Mercedes Dorame
  • Richard Glazer Danay
  • Harry Fonseca
  • Bob Haozous
  • L.frank
  • Jean LaMarr
  • Julian Lang
  • Frank LaPena
  • Linda Lomahaftewa
  • George Longfish
  • Judith Lowry
  • James Luna
  • Leatrice Mikkelsen
  • Geri Montano
  • Mooshka
  • Catherine Nelson-Rodriguez
  • Karen Noble
  • Jamie Okuma
  • Lyn Risling
  • Cara Romero
  • Diego Romero
  • Fritz Scholder
  • Rabbett Strickland
  • Patrick Swazo Hinds
  • Brian Tripp
  • Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie
  • Franklin Tuttle

Frank LaPena, History of California Indians, c.1990. Eight hand-colored lithographs, 28 x 19 in. (each panel). Collection of the artist. © Frank LaPena.

"When I Remember I See Red" opens at the Crocker Art Museum on October 20, 2019, and will remain on view through January 26, 2020. The exhibition was curated by the late Frank LaPena (Nomtipom Wintu), a Sacramento State professor emeritus, and Professor Mark Johnson of San Francisco State University.

This exhibition is accompanied by a full-color catalogue featuring a foreword by former California Governor Jerry Brown and essays by both Native and non-Native artists, curators, and academics.

High-resolution images of several works in this exhibition are available to members of the media upon request.

In conjunction with its two American Indian art exhibitions, the Museum will also host a symposium exploring issues faced by Native American communities, a free community festival, and more than a dozen exhibition-related special programs, each of which is inspired by the art in one or both of the exhibitions. Highlights include a film series curated by Maya Austin, formerly of the Sundance Institute; talks, workshops, studio classes, and an array of offerings for families, educators, and students of all ages and backgrounds. For more information on programs and events, click HERE.

Karen Christian
Media Relations Associate
Crocker Art Museum
(916) 808-1867

"When I Remember I See Red" is sponsored by the United Auburn Indian Community, with support from the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians.

The Crocker Art Museum would like to take this opportunity to recognize and acknowledge the many distinct communities of indigenous peoples that have made California a center of diversity for millennia. The greater Sacramento regions, where the Crocker is located, is the tribal land of the Nisenan, as well as the crossroads for Maidu, Miwok, Patwin, Wintun, and Wintu peoples.

Above: Cara Romero, Naomi, 2018. Photograph, 52 x 44 in. Collection of the artist ©Cara Romero.

Through engaging, innovative, and life-changing interactions with art, the Crocker Art Museum provides meaningful opportunities for people of divergent backgrounds to find common ground. Founded as a public/private partnership in 1885, the Crocker features the world’s foremost display of California art and is renowned for its holdings of master drawings and international ceramics, as well as European, Asian, African, and Oceanic art. The Crocker serves as the primary regional resource for the study and appreciation of fine art and offers a diverse spectrum of exhibitions, events, and programs to deepen visitor’s understanding of art, including films, concerts, studio classes, lectures, and an array of activities for families and children. More information about exhibits and programs can be found at crockerart.org