Cosas: Daniel McCoy Jr.'s Abstract Expression

Daniel McCoy, Experimental ExPRESSion

This mural pays homage to the early days of printmaking at the Institute of American Indian Arts, when students were under the tutelage of Seymour Tubis (1919-1993). The 8 x 45-foot mural by Daniel McCoy Jr. is the entryway to an exhibit of the same name at the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (108 Cathedral Place, 505-983-8900,, featuring 51 works on paper that were made by Tubis’ students between 1963 and 1980. The mural’s imagery includes the tools of the trade, such as carving tools and ink rollers, and the jagged black outlines are reminiscent of woodblock or linoleum printing. The bright colors are intense but welcoming: sky blue, peach, bubblegum pink.

The exhibit closes July 11, but the mural remains on view through Feb. 27, 2022.

McCoy (Muscogee Creek/Citizen Band Potawatomi) created the mural with his 15-year-old son, Noel, during the pandemic. They worked weekends, over the course of a month and a half. McCoy has painted three murals on the IAIA campus; this is his first for the museum. McCoy attended IAIA for a year in the early 1990s, before returning to his home state of Oklahoma to start a family. He spent seven years as a billboard and sign painter before moving back to Santa Fe and finishing his undergraduate degree and pursuing a fine art career. Experimental ExPRESSion was a chance to spend time with Noel, teach him painting techniques, and develop imagery together.

“We looked at ’70s movie posters, songs, and cartoons from Sesame Street, Marvel comics. I thought about regalia colors from powwow dance, which used to be very pushed-back, but neon colors worked their way in, in the 1980s,” McCoy says. “I thought these were influences the Tubis’ students might have liked, but it’s really what my son and I obsess over.” ◀

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