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Oct 26
Historic Theater / Michigan Theater
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Penny Stamps Distinguished Speaker Series and UMMA Present: Cannupa Hanska Luger: How Do We Remember? A conversation with Monument Lab Co-Founder Paul Farber

Multidisciplinary artist Cannupa Hanska Luger creates monumental installations, sculpture and performance to communicate urgent stories about 21st century Indigeneity, incorporating ceramics, steel, fiber, video and repurposed materials to reclaim and reframe a more accurate version of Native American culture and its global relevance. Luger combines critical cultural analysis with dedication and respect for the diverse materials, environments, and communities he engages while provoking diverse audiences to engage with Indigenous peoples and values apart from the lens of colonial social structuring.

Co-commissioned by UMMA and Monument Lab, the centerpiece of Luger’s newest project You’re Welcome resides on the exterior of UMMA’s building and responds to the question “how do we remember on this campus?” Luger’s work asks the campus and community to reconsider the memories molded into the Museum’s stone — the perspectives that shaped those traditions and the stories that remain unseen in our facade. This artistic interrogation dissects colonialist norms of monument-making, explores the roles of buildings in upholding dominant cultural narratives, and offers an approach to memorials that centers Indigenous perspectives and collaboration to tell fuller stories and histories. 

In addition to the exterior commission, a gallery exhibition places sculptural work by Luger in conversation with objects in UMMA’s collection, allowing for discussion and thinking on long histories of collecting practices, environmental degradation, and the afterlife of colonialism. And, a monument classroom from nonprofit public art and history studio Monument Lab invites the community to come together and examine how historic structures on the University of Michigan’s campus uphold social and cultural systems and narratives. 

For tonight’s program, Luger will be joined in conversation with Monument Lab co-founder Paul Farber.

Born on the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota, New Mexico based artist Cannupa Hanska Luger is an enrolled member of the Three Affiliated Tribes of Fort Berthold and is of Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara and Lakota heritage. Luger is a 2022 Guggenheim Fellow, a recipient of a 2021 United States Artists Fellowship Award for Craft and was named a 2021 GRIST Fixer. He is a 2020 Creative Capital Fellow, a 2020 Smithsonian Artist Research Fellow, and the recipient of the Museum of Arts and Design’s 2018 inaugural Burke Prize, among others. Luger has exhibited nationally and internationally including at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gardiner Museum, Kunsthal KAdE, Washington Project for the Arts, Art Mûr, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. Luger holds a BFA in studio arts from the Institute of American Indian Arts and is represented by Garth Greenan Gallery in New York. 

Paul M. Farber (he or they) is Director and Co-Founder of Monument Lab, a Philadelphia-based organization working with artists, students, educators, activists, municipal agencies, and cultural institutions to facilitate critical conversations around the past, present, and future of monuments, approaches to public engagement, and collective memory. He also serves as Senior Research Scholar at the Center for Public Art & Space at the University of Pennsylvania.

This program is presented in partnership with the Penny W. Stamps Distinguished Speaker Series.

Lead support for this project is provided by Teiger Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the U-M Office of the Provost, the U-M Office of the President, Erica Gervais Pappendick and Ted Pappendick, the U-M Marsal Family School of Education, the U-M Institute for the Humanities, Michigan Humanities, and the U-M Arts Initiative. Additional generous support is provided by Melissa Kaish and Jonathan Dorfman. 

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