First American Art Magazine No. 22, Spring 2019 - Page 65

CANNUPA HANSKA LUGER above Installation view of Lazy Stitch, a five-artist exhibition curated by Cannupa Hanska Luger, 2018, at the Marie Walsh Sharpe Gallery of Contemporary Art at the Ent Center for the Arts, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. Image courtesy of the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, Galleries of Contemporary Art. above, left Every One, 2018, social engagement and sculptural installation comprising 4,000 ceramic beads (each 2 in. diameter), clay, ink, nylon, rope. opposite Cannupa Hanska Luger with a mixed-media sculpture. Photo: Marco Paven. Unless otherwise noted, all images courtesy of the artist. I got to create my own bad habits, instead of inheriting someone else’s. Clay taught me to engage other media and I was one of those mediums. I liked how plastic it was. It created a sense of patience in me that sugar cereal, acrylic paint, and the ’90s didn’t give me. It influenced how I work with human beings. And for every one sculpture I’ve made, I have six ashtrays [rejects]. You can put hours and hours into a piece and then pull out shards from the kiln or a bad glaze job. Pieces shrink in that process. There is always room for chaos and it’s really humbling. It’s patience and observation. But things break, and that’s beautiful. The finiteness of things doesn’t bring sorrow into my life. A forever apple would be garbage. But a finite apple, that’s what makes it special—its entropy. This is Luger’s way of speaking, moving from a seemingly funny and irrelevant example to making a point about the nature of clay, entropy, and even failure. He connects the dots between art and the rest of the world. That’s perhaps because making art within the constraints of one medium can feel so compartmentalized, especially when artists, including Luger, strive to exist within complexity. At the end of the BFA degree, there are only two outcomes: grad school or the market. Luger chose the latter, which forced him to create at a fast pace and to turn out objects for vending. But the object was to him only “the echo of the work,” in his words, “the theory.” And the real work—that was the practice. “I can’t sell you the 20 hours I spent in the studio, but I can sell you the object.” Luger says he recently pulled out of making work for galleries—and the market—to begin building relationships that graduate school might have other- wise afforded him with institutions: schools, museums, and nonprofits. His goal is to forge a new role “for art production in the 21st century, to think of art as a verb and not a noun. To art.” In the past year, and with this SPRING 2019 | 63