Celebrating the 2022 Living Treasure, Virgil Ortiz (Cochiti Pueblo)

MIAC Opens ReVOlution

On Sunday, May 1, 2022, the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (MIAC) will celebrate its 2022 Living Treasure, Virgil Ortiz (Cochiti Pueblo) with an artist talk at 1pm, a book signing at 2pm, and entertainment from 3-5pm.

“It is vital that our traditional methods and materials are not forgotten but carried forward — art is as essential as our Pueblo language and way of life,” says artist Virgil Ortiz. “It creates the connection to the next generation to advance into the future utilizing relevant, engaging storytelling and modern, high-tech devices and platforms — this means formulating ideas that awaken the imagination and provoke fascination, emotion, and empowerment.”

Ortiz’s career spans four decades, extending across multiple media and boundaries. His vision combines his Pueblo culture with sci-fi, fantasy, and apocalyptic themes. The result is futuristic imagery that visitors marvel at in his exhibitions throughout the world. His work has been exhibited in venues from the Netherlands to Paris to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, and other U.S. museums.

“By merging ancestral Cochiti materials and methods with urgent sociopolitical and futuristic themes, Ortiz is currently situated in the forefront of the contemporary Native arts world,” says exhibition curator Lillia McEnaney. “His signature artistic style and aesthetic makes difficult subject matter accessible, urging viewers to think deeply and carefully about the histories and implications of settler colonialism in the US Southwest, as well as the futures of Indigenous lives and communities.”

Virgil Ortiz grew up observing his mother and grandmother create pottery in the Cochiti tradition. He has kept these methods alive while concurrently imparting a contemporary vision, embracing his Cochiti roots and merging them with futurism and narrative storytelling. Ortiz is known for mixing Star Wars-like themes with historic events such as the 1680 Pueblo Revolt.

Ortiz’s book highlights his vast achievements, and " ...features more than 200 works of art selected by him, as well as his artist statement. Curator Karen Kramer contributes a compelling portrait of the artist in the foreword to Charles S. King’s biography. In addition, this book represents a unique collaboration between book designer and artist with Ortiz leaving his imprint on each page." -From the Museum of New Mexico Press.

Visitors to the exhibition will be able to experience Ortiz’s ceramics and photographic works that put contemporary media in conversation with ancestral Cochiti ceramic methods.

“It’s important to tell people about the Pueblo Revolt of 1680,” Ortiz says. “I want to give a voice to all the pottery destroyed at that time. I have made it my mission to retell this story in a way that speaks to the generations, and in turn to educate the world.”

About the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture  The Museum of Indian Arts & Culture is a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, under the leadership of the Board of Regents for the Museum of New Mexico. Programs and exhibits are generously supported by the Museum of New Mexico Foundation and our donors. The mission of the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture/Laboratory of Anthropology is to serve as a center of stewardship, knowledge, and understanding of the artistic, cultural, and intellectual achievements of the diverse peoples of the Native Southwest.


This press release, image and all others distributed by the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs can be found here https://media.newmexicoculture.org/releases.