She Depicting Her: A Womans Perspective
By Christopher Green
Eleanor Adam, Janet A. Cook, Liz Adams-Jones, Leah Lopez, and Orly Shiv
A so-called branded feminism is appearing in the art and commercial worlds at large, a slick gloss that co-opts feminist rhetoric to largely patriarchal and neoliberal capitalist ends.
I was lucky enough to see Meryl McMaster’s photographic series In-Between Worlds at Toronto’s CONTACT Photography Festival in 2013. McMaster, a young breakout artist of Plains Cree, British, and Dutch heritage, and a member of the Siksika Nation, has most often taken questions of historical and tribal identity as her subject, particularly in relation to her own mixed heritage.
Printmaking has a long and important history in modern Native American art. The printing press was a place to express ones culture and heritage while dispelling the notion that Native art was anything but modern.
To whom does the I belong? Do the disconnected status updates refer to Trecartins body or ours? It is equally difficult to place the body and subject amidst the digital mediation that similarly dominates his video practice.
A cynic might point out how convenient it is for the Museum of Modern Art to have an exhibition that essentially doubles the narrative of modern art enshrined in neighboring galleries and on the floor below.
The history of the representation of Native Americans has been, until recently, overwhelmingly one-sided. Capturing the indigenous peoples of this continent through images was the purview of the colonizer, the outsider, the anthropologists, and the government officials and painters who had the technological and material means to represent the Indian as they saw him.
Despite its claims, Unbound: Narrative Art of the Plains does not trace the evolution of narrative art among Native nations on the Great Plains.
Anishinaabe cultural theorist Gerald Vizenor coined the term survivance, a combination of survival and endurance, to suggest for Native Americans an active sense of presence and continuation and to renounce discourses of dominance and victimization.
Waves of light, sound, and electric current flow throughout Transformer: Native Art in Light and Sound to demonstrate the vitality of Indigenous contemporary art in the digital age.
At Open Source Gallery, 60 white porcelain hatchets, patterned with red and blue florals, tumble end over end in a shallow arc along the length of the gallery. Suspended from the ceiling by threads of clear fishing line, they fly as if thrown.
Overlooking the busy port of Red Hook’s Atlantic Basin, blood-red text is pasted on the window of the third floor gallery at Pioneer Works. On one pane is the phrase: “A NATION IS A MASSACRE,” followed by: “THE DETAILS ARE GRUESOME & AMERICAN & AS PATRIOTIC AS GUN VIOLENCE & RAPE & MASS MURDER.”
The taxonomic nature of the series evokes the specter of anthropological specimen sampling and natural science modalities through which Native peoples have historically been studied. But Red Stars straight images of vernacular reservation architecture and materiality create a portrait of life on the rez that counters romanticization with a touch of grounded humor.