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“Hood” (1840–50), collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Ralph T. Coe Collection, Gift of Ralph T. Coe Foundation for the Arts, 2011 (image sourced from the Metropolitan Museum of Art online; derivative image used under Creative Commons Law and licensed under CC0 1.0; courtesy of Art in General)

An ornately beaded hood made by a member of the James Bay Cree First Nation in the middle of the 19th century has become an object of fascination for the Omaskêko Cree artist Duane Linklater. On public display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, it sits at the nexus of many of the questions about institutional responsibility, the politics of land and territory, and the prevailing historical and contemporary attitudes toward Indigenous people and their artifacts that Linklater’s work addresses. His talk on Thursday, August 31 at Art in General will very literally address the Metropolitan Museum — it will be presented in the form of an open letter to the encyclopedic institution.

By way of a response to Linklater’s letter, he will be joined by six artists and educators who will bring their own expertise to bear on the questions he has for the Met. For instance, Maya Valladares will offer her perspective on the hood and the systems of power that have brought it from the shores of the Hudson Bay to the Upper East Side, informed by her own experiences of traditional handwork techniques as a kind of social practice. As more people become aware of the ongoing efforts to decolonize museums and repatriate indigenous objects, many of the issues that have been central to Linklater’s career for years are gaining new and long-overdue urgency.

When: Thursday, August 31, 7–9pm
Where: Art in General (145 Plymouth Street, Dumbo, Brooklyn)

More info here.

Benjamin Sutton

Benjamin Sutton is an art critic, journalist, and curator who lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn. His articles on public art, artist documentaries, the tedium of art fairs, James Franco's obsession with Cindy...