Strategies of Appropriation in Contemporary Native American Art

Wendy Red Star (Crow, b. 1981) <em>ENIT</em>, 2010 color lithograph on paper 2.50 x 22.38 inches Acquired with funds provided by the Humana Foundation Endowment for American Art, 2011.030.007

Wendy Red Star (Crow, b. 1981) ENIT, 2010 color lithograph on paper 2.50 x 22.38 inches Acquired with funds provided by the Humana Foundation Endowment for American Art, 2011.030.007

O’Shaughnessy Galleries I, II, & III February 2 through May 18, 2019

This exhibition focuses on appropriation—as strategy and as subject—in recent work by Native American artists. It will draw on both the Snite Museum’s permanent collection and selected loans to bring together works made in a variety of media over the past two decades by Rick Bartow (Mad River Band Wiyot), Edgar Heap of Birds (Cheyenne/Arapaho), Elisa Harkins (Cherokee/Muscogee), Jaune Quick-to-See Smith (Salish), Marie Watt (Seneca), Melanie Yazzie (Navajo) and others. It will be anchored by the large-scale, multi-media installation Peelatchiwaaxpáash/Medicine Crow (Raven) and the 1880 Crow Peace Delegation by Portland- based artist Wendy Red Star (Crow).


While these artists represent diverse generations and tribal affiliations, they share an interest in the circulation and reconfiguration of forms over time, across geographic distance, and between cultures. Some directly address and subvert the appropriation of Native culture by settler society, while others repurpose found objects, images, and texts drawn from tribal history, family archives, and popular culture. In media ranging from print to textile to video, their work reflects on and reshapes issues of inheritance, colonization, authenticity, and the politics of representation.

The guest curator organizing the exhibition is Frances Jacobus-Parker, a Princeton University Ph.D. Art History candidate.