James Luna





Born on February 9, 1950, James Luna was of Luiseño, Puyukitchum, Ipai, and Mexican heritage and lived on the La Jolla Indian Reservation in Pauma Valley, California, from 1975 until his death on March 4, 2018. Luna taught studio art at the University of California, Davis; University of California San Diego; and University of California Irvine.

​​​​​​Luna has been the subject of more than 41 solo exhibitions and has participated in over 85 group exhibitions. His works and performances have appeared in the New Museum (1990, New York), Museum of Modern Art (2009, New York), San Francisco Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa), Museum of Contemporary Native Art (2015, 2018, Santa Fe), Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (1987, 2019), and Whitney Museum of American Art (1993, 2019, New York). In 2005, he was selected as the first Sponsored Artist of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian presented at the 51st Venice Biennale (2005).

Luna was the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including the Bessie Award (1991), an Intercultural Film/Video Grant from the Rockefeller Foundation (1992), a Native American Public Broadcasting Consortium video grant (1995), an Andrea Frank Foundation Grant (2000), an Arts International Grant (2000), a Distinguished Artist Award and Eiteljorg Museum Fellowship for Native American Fine Art (2007), a Painters & Sculptors Grant from the Joan Mitchell Foundation (2010), a National Arts Fellowship from the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation (2015), and a Guggenheim Fellowship (2017). In 2012, James Luna was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities from the Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe.

Adapted from Garth Greenan Gallery, 2023

Related programs

INDIANacts Cabaret (Artist)
INDIANacts: aboriginal performance art (Panel Participant)
Mapping the Movement (Panel Participant)

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