This porcelain egg was part of the installation "Nothing is Natural" in the Reed Canyon.
This porcelain egg was part of the installation "Nothing is Natural" in the Reed Canyon.

Art Website Raves about Reed Exhibition

Hyperallergic names Cooley Gallery exhibition "Nothing is Natural" as one of the 20 best art shows of 2017.

By Anna Mann | January 3, 2018

Influential art website Hyperallergic lavished praise on Nothing is Natural, an installation in the Reed Canyon put on by indigenous artists working in tandem with the Cooley Gallery.

Calling the work “incredibly poignant,” Hyperallergic listed it as one of the top 20 exhibitions in the US last year.

For Nothing is Natural, indigenous activist collective R.I.S.E.: Radical Indigenous Survivance and Empowerment joined with two other indigenous collectives to create a performative art exhibition organized by Demian DinéYazhi’ (R.I.S.E.), Ginger Dunhill (Winter Count), and participating artists, with curator Stephanie Snyder ’91, director and curator of Reed’s Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery. The exhibition was on view for one day—August 11, 2017—and was part of Converge 45, a newly established city-wide arts happening in Portland, Oregon.

Nothing is Natural unfolded throughout the canyon and its natural water source, Crystal Springs. As visitors walked the lush perimeter of the canyon, they encountered a sonic lattice of indigenous protest and ritual recordings, and objects such as silver whistles suspended from tree branches etched with the phrases “Land as Body” or “Body as Land.” In addition, signs nestled along the paths spoke to indigenous environmental and social injustice in relation to the safety and survival of the body. Throughout the performance, the canyon echoed with the overlapping sounds of whistles, chants, water, voices, and moving bodies.

Nothing is Natural’s call-and-response concept underscored the significance of convergence, amplifying the artists’ responses to: social and environmental injustice; migration/ movement/evolution; sanctuary; indigenous survivance; trust; and the resilience of culture despite forced relocation and resource extraction.

The exhibition also included a video installation by indigenous collective Postcommodity in the historic Reed Student Union, accompanied by a public conversation with Converge 45 artists Demian DinéYazhi’, Ginger Dunhill, MK Guth, and participating curator Stephanie Snyder. 

An installation featuring objects and material from Nothing is Natural remains on view in the Reed College library through January 2018, and the project publication is available at no cost through the Cooley Gallery.

Nothing is Natural was co-presented by in situ PORTLAND, a program of the Regional Arts & Culture Council, with additional support from the Oregon Arts Commission and The Ford Family Foundation.

Tags: Cool Projects, Diversity/Equity/Inclusion, Awards & Achievements