Press Release

May 7, 2024

MEDIA CONTACT: Brian Passey | [email protected] | 480-874-4626

‘poetics of dissonance’ exhibition showcases political works from the SMoCA Collection

The Faith Ringgold lithograph “Under a Blood Red Sky #7,” 2006, is part of an upcoming exhibition at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) called “poetics of dissonance.” Artwork credit: SMoCA Collection, Segura Publishing Company Archive, gift of Jeffrey J. Wagner.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — With another Arizona election season looming, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) will present a new collection show featuring work that navigates the tumultuous landscape of socio-political discourse and resolutely confronts hot-button issues.

Titled “poetics of dissonance,” the show includes works from the SMoCA Collection by 18 artists. The exhibition opens Aug. 10, 2024, at the museum, which is operated by the nonprofit Scottsdale Arts.

Keshia Turley, assistant curator at SMoCA, curated the exhibition. She said that one of the most important roles of a contemporary art museum is to be a platform for artists who speak to their current moment and from their own lived experiences. As cultural centers, museums help to safeguard and shape the narratives future generations will have access to later.

“I think that was the most interesting part for me in curating this exhibition: viewing works in SMoCA’s collection from different periods or that spoke to different periods in the context of what is happening in the world today,” Turley said. “It was also pretty eye-opening to visualize how cyclical history can be, particularly the history related to politics and power. Whether the works are wry, cynical or realist in nature, it was a new experience seeing them contextually and comparatively with each other and our contemporary world.”

The artworks in “poetics of dissonance” address everything from immigration to colonialism in an open invitation for dialogue and introspection, even amidst a cacophony of discord. Each work in the exhibition serves as a vital conduit for open discourse, underscoring the complexities of power, identity and activism standing at the center of the cultural and political zeitgeists that have dominated recent decades.

From Enrique Chagoya’s deeply provocative “Loyalty” (2003) to Faith Ringgold’s haunting “Under a Blood Red Sky #7” (2006) to Alfred Quiroz’s shockingly irreverent “Columbus Introduces Eurocentric Philosophy to America” (1992), “poetics of dissonance” is a vivid reminder of art’s enduring capacity to challenge, inspire and provoke.

Also included in the exhibition, though it will be shown off-site at a later date, is Nina Katchadourian’s “Monument to the Unelected,” which has been shown twice previously by SMoCA, most recently in the Coronado neighborhood of Phoenix during the 2020 election season. The artwork comprises nearly 60 signs with the names of all the major candidates who have lost U.S. presidential elections.

“Monument to the Unelected” will return to the same home at 2506 N. 13th St. in Phoenix this year. And after Election Day, an additional sign will be added to the artwork to mark the loss of the defeated candidate. While the artwork can be displayed in a museum setting, the artist prefers to show it at private homes.

“I think this piece is most powerful when people encounter the signs as lawn signs, in the setting that they usually appear in,” Katchadourian said. “It creates a double-take effect: You recognize what these are, but then the content sneaks up on you.”

Katchadourian clarifies that the artwork is politically neutral. It’s about election history. The artist said people might celebrate or mourn the names of the losing candidates depicted on the signs, but it remains an illustration of “our shared election history, not an opinion about any of those specific results.”

The SMoCA Collection is part of the Fine Art Collection of the City of Scottsdale. SMoCA regularly shows artworks from the museum’s collection through exhibitions like “poetics of dissonance.”

Tiffany Trenda is among the artists whose work appears in the SMoCA Collection. Although her works in the collection are not part of “poetics of dissonance,” she currently has a new artwork on view at SMoCA’s front entrance.

Trenda’s “Beyond Performance” is an ongoing series of images that ventures into the realm of performance art and artificial intelligence. Through the integration of smart applications and her performance archive, she introduces a new dimension to the traditional understanding of the body in performance art. The artwork can be viewed from inside the museum or outside through the front window.

“Being included in Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art’s permanent collection has been an immense honor,” Trenda said. “They have continued their support of my exploration of performance art and technology by showcasing ‘Beyond Performance’ in such a prominent location. This provides an exciting opportunity to engage with a broader audience and to spark meaningful conversations about the evolving landscape of artificial intelligence.”

“Beyond Performance” will remain on view through June 23. “poetics of dissonance” opens Aug. 10, 2024, and runs through March 23, 2025.

SMoCA — named “Best Art Museum” by the Phoenix New Times in the 2023 Best of Phoenix awards — is located at 7374 E. Second St., Scottsdale, Arizona 85251. It is open Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Visit for information.

Admission is $10–$12 for non-members; $7–$9 for students, seniors (65+) and veterans; and free for Scottsdale Arts ONE Members, healthcare workers, first responders, and patrons 18 and younger. Admission to the museum is pay-what-you-wish every Thursday and every second Saturday of the month. Save time and money by booking online at

Scottsdale Arts would like to thank the following SMoCA sponsors and partners: City of Scottsdale; Billie Jo Herberger; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; Arizona Commission on the Arts; Walter and Karla Goldschmidt Foundation; Virginia M. Ullman Foundation; Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Bungalows; Mountain Shadows Resort; Hotel Adeline; Hotel Valley Ho; Joan Prior and John Armstrong; Yares Art, New York; Airpark Signs & Graphics; Christy and Charles Jerz; Nancy and Robert Kravetz Philanthropic Fund; Peggy Sharp; and Pazo Fine Art.