Current Speed: Sky Hopinka

Current Speed: Sky Hopinka

Chellgren Family Gallery

November 16, 2022 – February 19, 2023

The Speed Art Museum is proud to present a new exhibition of work by artist and filmmaker Sky Hopinka (born 1984 in Ferndale, WA) as the inaugural iteration of the museum’s Current Speed exhibition series. 

A 2022 MacArthur Fellow, Sky Hopinka (born 1984) makes experimental films, videos, and photographs that center and explore Indigenous perspectives, memory, and culture. A member of the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin and a descendent of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, Hopinka interweaves personal and communal histories and experiences as visual, linguistic, and sonic ingredients to create an alternative form of storytelling that is often unfixed, inexact, and indirect. Through technical mastery and precision in film editing, the artist destabilizes and untethers our conventional linear viewing experiences—creating uncertainty that might mirror the myriad ways generations of Indigenous peoples have also been disenfranchised from their own firmly planted lands, homes, and familial ties to culture, identity, and personhood. 

For this installation, the Speed will present three major film works made by Hopinka over the last six years: I’ll Remember You As You Were, not as What You’ll Become (2016), Lore (2019), and Mnemonics of Shape and Reason (2021). These fantastical, abstracted videos urge us to consider our own relationships to life, landscape, and memory as colorfully romantic, somewhat delirious contemplations assembled on both digital and 16mm film. Hopinka’s works sometimes veer towards experiments in evoking nostalgia, made more potent by intermittent threads of poetic text or historical prose. He is deeply invested in language as a cultural signifier and tool; his films sometimes feature words in Chinuk Wawa (an endangered pidgin “trade” language that originated in the Pacific Northwest in the 19th century) or Ho-Chunk. The artist has said “Indigenous art is the art of the indescribable things that you can’t think of in English. The meaning isn’t the shape of words, but rather it’s found in those crevices between the facts and the information we’ve been taught to understand of ourselves, those slick spaces where the spirit slips through that I don’t have the words for, that you don’t have the words for. All the things that surprise us—by not only our humanity, but the humanity of others.” 

Programming tied to Current Speed: Sky Hopinka

  • February 8, 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm | Exhibition Lecture with Sky Hopinka, Learn more
  • February 12, Malni–Towards the Ocean, Towards the Shore screening at Speed Cinema, Learn more 

Sky Hopinka is currently an assistant professor in the Film and Electronic Arts Program at Bard College. He has exhibited work and screened films at venues including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; LUMA Arles, France; the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, TX; the Hessel Museum of Art, Annadale-on-Hudson, New York; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Saint Louis Art Museum; Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, CA; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Santa Fe, NM; among many others around the world. In 2022, he was awarded a MacArthur “Genius Award” Fellowship, and other honors include a Forge Project Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship for the Creative Arts, a Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study Fellowship at Harvard University, Art Matters Artist Fellowship; Sundance Art of Nonfiction Fellowship; Filmmaker Magazine 25 New Faces of Film, 2018; Jury Award, 2018 Chicago Underground Film Festival; 2017 Mary L. Nohl Fund Fellowship for Individual Artists; More with Less Award, 2016 Images Festival; Tom Berman Award for Most Promising Filmmaker at the 54th Ann Arbor Film Festival; and the Princess Grace Graduate Film Scholarship.

Current Speed is a new series of changing contemporary art exhibitions that introduces the Kentuckiana community to new and emerging artists as well as celebrated mid-career artists previously underrecognized in the region. Current Speed exhibitions are open to the public and included with general museum admission. 

The Current Speed exhibition series is initiated and organized by Tyler Blackwell, Curator of Contemporary Art at Speed Art Museum.

Sponsored by:
James and Leslie Millar Charitable Fund