Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Art & Art History

First Advisor

Kira van Lil

Second Advisor

Claire Farago

Third Advisor

James Córdova


This study aims to address how Fritz Scholder's Indian Series and James Luna's performance pieces- The Artifact Piece , Half Mexican/ Half Mexican , Indian Tails , Take a Picture with a Real Indian and Emendatio - contributed to a larger study of identity and presence that contemporary Native American artists of the twenty-first century strive to recognize. Scholder's radical approach to portraying the Native American figure in painting during the mid-twentieth century altered the expectations reserved for Native American artists. Through this change arose a desire for Native artists to not only utilize painting to express their modern existence, but embrace performance and installation. As a performance and installation artist of the late twentieth-century to present, James Luna has sought to disavow the notion of authenticity and instill identity through his contemporary experiences as a Native American artist. I examine how this radical and abrupt shift in Native American artistry inspired currently practicing contemporary Native American artists to invoke sexuality, colonialism, violence and identity through new mediums.