Brad Kahlhamer: 11:59 to Tucson, a New Solo Exhibition at Tucson Museum of Art, Traverses the Ambiguous Landscapes of Culture and Identity
Tucson, AZ – The Tucson Museum of Art (TMA) presents Brad Kahlhamer: 11:59 to Tucson, a solo exhibition with works from the multimedia artist that span decades.
Brad Kahlhamer (b. 1956) is a Tucson-born, Mesa/New York-based artist, who creates highly personal narratives that are both autobiographical reflections on his life and quixotic reveries about his identity.
Born to Indigenous parents, Kahlhamer was adopted by a German American family and to this day still does not know his full background. Derived from childhood memories, fantasies about the Southwest, and experiences as an illustrator and musician, his works are a blend of dreams and nightmares that express the realities of the urban experience and a longing for his Indigenous roots.
Kahlhamer breaks his life into three realms: the “first place” of his Indigenous heritage, the “second place” of his middle-American upbringing in a white, adoptive family, and the “third place” of his work as an artist and musician. Through his art, Kahlhamer seeks to connect to a spiritual and communal sense of belonging as well as to a culture that has eluded him in the past. Addressing issues of contemporary culture and identity, he creates works that resonate with both ambiguity and ambivalence about his origins and a fervent desire to discover them.
The title of the exhibition is a reference to the 1957 American Western film 3:10 to Yuma as well as the time and place of the Kahlhamer’s birth. Dr. Julie Sasse, TMA’s chief curator, writes in the exhibition’s catalogue: “This Tucson exhibition is particularly poignant for Kahlhamer because, with Tucson as his birthplace, it represents a return to home as well as a reckoning of his past and identity. Kahlhamer’s art and life exist in a liminal space between urban and rural, Indigenous and Anglo, artist and musician.”
Informed by his personal background, experiences in the punk music scene, time as a graphic artist and art director at Topps Company, Inc., and interest in ledger drawings, Brad Kahlhamer: 11:59 to Tucson reveals an accomplished artist at ease with criss-crossing between worlds.
Brad Kahlhamer: 11:59 to Tucson
March 17, 2022 – September 25, 2022
On view in the James J. and Louise R. Glasser Galleries, Earl Kai Chann Gallery, and Lois C. Green Gallery.
Brad Kahlhamer: 11:59 to Tucson is accompanied by a full-color catalogue published by the Tucson Museum of Art with an essay by Julie Sasse, PhD, Chief Curator; foreword by Jeremy Mikolajczak, Jon and Linda Ender Director and CEO; and poetry by Natalie Diaz, Pulitzer Prize winning Akimel O’otham and Mojave poet.
Thursday – Sunday
10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
About Brad Kahlhamer
Brad Kahlhamer’s art lives at the crossroads of real and imaginary worlds.
Born to Indigenous parents and adopted by a German American family, he was raised in Arizona and Wisconsin and spent his early adulthood as a musician living on the road before settling in New York City. Shaped by this nomadic history, Kahlhamer’s work explores the particularities of the American landscape: the desert ecology of the Southwest, the parks and waterways of the upper Midwest, and the gritty streets of the urban Northeast—often fusing references to multiple regions within a single work of art.
Similarly, Kahlhamer draws from a broad array of artistic sources, from Indigenous aesthetics and Abstract Expressionism to graffiti and popular culture. Even his references to Indigenous cultures cut across tribal traditions, as Kahlhamer views himself and his art as “tribally ambiguous.” Kahlhamer’s art explores notions of cultural hybridity and the experience of navigating multiple communities, as well as the representation and appropriation of Indigenous cultures.
About Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block
As an institution built upon the original territories of the O’odham, the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block (TMA) acknowledges the Indigenous Sonoran Desert communities, past and present, who have stewarded this region throughout generations.
TMA connects art to life through meaningful and engaging experiences that inspire discovery, spark creativity, and promote cultural understanding. Founded in 1924, TMA encompasses an entire city block in historic downtown.
TMA is committed to developing quality exhibitions, expanding, and diversifying its collection and presenting relevant and innovative programs while broadening public access to the arts.
The museum features exhibitions of Modern and Contemporary art, Latin American art from ancient to today, Indigenous arts and Art of the American West. A permanent collection of over 12,000 works of art spans continents, centuries, and media. TMA’s campus includes five properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places, an art education center and research library, the Museum Store, and the highly acclaimed museum restaurant Café a la C’Art.
TMA is a private 501(c)(3) charitable arts and education organization. More info: TucsonMuseumofArt.org or (520) 624-2333.