We Ask Leading Museum Curators About What’s Going On In Their World
What exhibitions are you currently working on?
I feel like I always have multiple projects going on at once—a good problem to have! I just completed a major public art installation at the museum with Cheyenne Randall. We installed six monumentally sized wheatpaste murals on our campus of Audrey Hepburn, Barbara Streisand, Paul Newman, Elvis and others, all tattooed in Photoshop then blown up to a large scale. My next project for the Heard is a midcareer monograph of Nicholas Galanin, which will feature more than 12 years, and 10,000 square feet of work by the artist. Works on view will include video, installation, fashion, performance art, works on paper and much more—in total about 50 objects are included in the exhibition. Dear Listener opens May 4 and will be accompanied by an opening-night concert called Not a Block Party, featuring Shabazz Palaces, Indian Agent and Heebie Jeebies with MC Dapper Dre.
Will be an exciting night of art and music—an energetic syzygy.
Name an interesting museum exhibit, gallery opening or work of art you’ve seen recently.
I was recently curating an exhibition in New Haven, and gave a talk on colonialism at Yale Center for British Art—they had on view Things of Beauty Growing: British Studio Pottery, curated by Martina Droth, Glenn Adamson and Simon Olding, which focused on studio pottery from the early-20th century to now. It was a massive show—and featured some stunning works, one in particular by Halima Cassell was mind-blowing. The artist sourced clay from various parts of the globe, from France, to Pakistan, the United States and Cuba to name a few—each vessel a different earthen shade of clay—it was this beautiful commentary on diversity and intersectionality.
What event (gallery show, museum exhibition, etc.) in the next few months are you looking forward to, and why?
I am highly anticipating the retrospective on Jeffrey Gibson at Denver Art Museum that opens in May. Jeff’s work is exquisite, provocative and arresting. I cannot wait to see such a large and thoughtful concentration of his practice. I also am really looking forward to the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s show Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, which pairs garments with religious works from the Met collection— which will be on view in the Anna Wintour Costume Center.
What is your dream exhibition to curate? Or see someone else curate?
I have many dream exhibitions I want to curate…my focus as a curator has been and is on contemporary Indigenous North American art, as well as contemporary Middle Eastern and North African art, that leads to subtexts of the impacts of colonialism, diaspora, tribal migrations and identity. That being said, I am quite interested in intersectionality. I want to see how we can create conduits of understanding between different cultural groups—look at analogous issues that groups are facing, and also look at difference. My curatorial work is focused on social justice, social commentary and activism, using art as a vehicle for change by creating discursive conversations in many parts.
Give us a few of your favorite Native artists.
Oh my, there are so many fantastic artists out there working today; some that I have had the privilege of working with are Natalie Ball, Raven Chacon, Postcommodity, Cannupa Hanska Luger, Dana Claxton and others whose work I admire such as Marie Watt, Wendy Red Star…i love what Demian Dinéyahzi’ is doing, and Ginger Dunnill who runs Broken Boxes Podcast, her work is dope. There is this amazing momentum occurring right now, is really exciting to witness and be participant to.