Art for a New Un­der­stand­ing: Na­tive Voices, 1950s to Now

Crys­tal Bridges Mu­seum of Amer­i­can Art

Inuit Art Quarterly - - HIGHLIGHTS - Candice Hop­kins

Fea­tur­ing work by Isuma, Tanya Lukin Lin­klater, Sonya Kel­li­her-Combs and many more, this sig­nif­i­cant tour­ing ex­hi­bi­tion, cu­rated by Mindy Be­saw, Candice Hop­kins and Manuela Well-Off-Man, launches this fall and ex­plores new per­spec­tives on con­tem­po­rary Amer­i­can art through the work of In­dige­nous artists—in­clud­ing those from Canada and the North.

Here, Hop­kins dis­cusses the need to chart this par­al­lel his­tory and the artis­tic col­lab­o­ra­tions that de­fine it:

This ex­hi­bi­tion is an op­por­tu­nity to not sim­ply have an­other sur­vey, but to look at the ori­gin points of what we de­fine as con­tem­po­rary Na­tive art to­day. We de­cided to go back to the 1950s and trace these dif­fer­ent lin­eages as a chance to show, in a main­stream mu­seum, that these are long­stand­ing prac­tices with their own dis­tinct his­to­ries, and to fo­cus on artists who have made a deep im­pact. One of those artists is the col­lec­tive

Isuma. They are fea­tured promi­nently, as are other ar tists from the North, par­tic­u­larly Alaska.

There are still many stereo­types in re­gards not only to Na­tive peo­ple but also to what con­sti­tutes Na­tive ar t. One of the things we did very con­sciously with this ex­hi­bi­tion was to al­ways chal­lenge what those ex­pec­ta­tions might be. Some­thing I am par­tic­u­larly ex­cited by are the cross di­a­logues that we have been able to en­cour­age be­tween artists from the North. For in­stance, Tanya Lukin Lin­klater’s work is be­ing made in di­rect re­la­tion to work by Sonya Kel­li­her-Combs. Tanya has al­ways fol­lowed Sonya’s work, but has not had the chance to do any­thing in col­lab­o­ra­tion with her; this is re­ally an homage.

What I hope the ex­hi­bi­tion does is pre­sent the many lesser-known in­stances of col­lab­o­ra­tion where In­dige­nous ar tists were not only lead­ing in terms of im­pro­vi­sa­tion, but also ex­per­i­ment­ing with new ma­te­ri­als. It’s time for this work to no longer ex­ist in a par­al­lel world.


Zacharias Kunuk(b. 1957 Iglu­lik/Mon­treal) —Ata­nar­juat:The Fast Run­ner (still) 2001 Film172 min

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