WASHINGTON, DC — Each June in Huinchiri, Peru, four Quechua communities on two sides of a gorge join together to build a bridge out of grass, creating a form of ancient infrastructure that dates back at least five centuries to the Inca Empire.
Museum of the American Indian
Contemporary and Historic Ledger Art Joined in a Seamless Native Narrative
Too often museums exhibit indigenous art of the United States as artifacts made by ghosts, even though many of these traditions are still inspiring contemporary creators.
A 19th-Century Cheyenne Warrior’s Drawings of His Life as a POW
Some of the best-known 19th-century ledger art was created by Cheyenne, Arapaho, Comanche, Kiowa, and Caddo prisoners of war at Fort Marion in St. Augustine, Florida, following the Red River Wars.
Drawn Self-Portraits Materialized as Masks
For her Second Self photography series, Canadian artist Meryl McMaster asked her subjects to blindly draw single-line contours of their faces, which she then sculpted into wire masks.
A 20th-Century Kiowa Photographer Whose Work Shows Tradition in Transition
For five decades at the beginning of the 20th century, Horace Poolaw photographed a Kiowa community in flux.
The Arrows of the Last Yahi Indian, Who Chose to Live Out His Final Days in a Museum
It’s just a couple of arrows, but the pair of slender wood weapons are a reminder of a man who chose to live the rest of his life in museum rather than a reservation.
Thunderbirds and Underwater Panthers in an Overlooked American Indian Art History
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in New York is holding the first major survey of art by Anishinaabe artists in the Great Lakes region, with over a hundred works from artists both contemporary and ancient, all linked by the 10,000-year history of human settlement in the area.
Engaging Turbulence at One of New York’s Only Smithsonian Institutions
The Carl Beam retrospective now at the National Museum of the American Indian Heye Center in Lower Manhattan could be a response to the museum itself. Located in the imposing Alexander Hamilton US Custom House, a monolithic reminder that New York City was originally built on European immigration, the museum presents artifacts and art by North America’s first people. Beam’s work likewise was always aimed at juxtaposing the modern culture of North America, a transformation of the country that he marked with the arrival of Columbus, with the traditional imagery of the American Indians. Neither the museum nor the influential Canadian artist’s work offers much harmony between these two clashing worlds, but in the resulting collage of Beam’s work is an engaging sort of turbulence.
Denver Museum Re-Install Heralds Rethinking of Native American Art
The re-installation of the Denver Art Museum’s American Indian art galleries has an important new feature: individual artist names are now included on its wall labels. The comprehensive re-installation heralds a new move towards recognition of the history of Native American art, as well as Native American artists’ contribution to a larger American art history.