Aranda\Lasch continue a longstanding collaboration with Terrol Dew Johnson, a Native American artist and community activist from the Tohono O’odham Nation in Sells, Arizona. They first worked together in 2006 on a show at the Artists Space in New York City titled Baskets, and most recently in an exhibition Meeting the Clouds Halfway at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tucson, Arizona. Here, they reprise the title of their first show and collate an ensemble of their work together from the past decade. Johnson presents a knowledge—built by the Tohono O’odham over many generations—of desert fiber basket coiling: a process and activity that forms woven and looped compositions out of repetitive movements. The choreography of action and materials can be broken down into a set of actions or a language—in other words, a code that can be scripted. It was this performative quality that drew Aranda\Lasch’s interests; they offer translations encoded with the possibility of testing new forms to build in dialogue with the collective knowledge of the Tohono O’odham Nation.
Aranda\Lasch is a New York and Tucson based design studio established in 2003 by Benjamin Aranda and Chris Lasch. Aranda\Lasch designs buildings, installations, and furniture. Their recognitions include the United States Artists Award, Young Architects Award, Design Vanguard Award, AD Innovators, and the Architectural League Emerging Voices Award. Their early projects are the subject of the book, Tooling. Aranda\Lasch has exhibited internationally in galleries, museums, design fairs, and biennials. Their work is part of the permanent collection of the MoMA in New York.
Terrol Dew Johnson is a community leader, nationally recognized advocate for Native communities as well as a renowned artist and weaver. Johnson co-founded Tohono O’odham Community Action (TOCA), a grassroots community organization dedicated to creating positive programs based in the O’odham Himdag–the Desert People’s Way. In 1999 Johnson was named one of “America’s top ten young community leaders” by the Do Something Foundation and in 2002 he received the Ford Foundation’s Leadership for a Changing World Award. As an artist, Johnson is recognized as one of the top Native American basketweavers in the U.S. He has won top honors at such shows as Santa Fe Indian Market, O’odham Tash, the Heard Museum Fair and the Southwest Indian Art Fair. His work is in the permanent collections of museums including the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian and the Heard Museum.