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  • Meet the Fellows | Nicholas Galanin (Part II of V)

    by DeShong Perry-Smitherman, Eiteljorg public relations manager | Oct 16, 2013

    Each week the Eiteljorg blog will profile artists who will be featured in RED: Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship. The exhibit opens Nov. 9. Details below!

    What follows is an excerpt from Nicholas Galanin: Translate Transpose Transmit Shifting Indigenous Aesthetics  by Tania Willard (Secwepemc Nation)
    (from RED: Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship exhibition catalog).
      
    Nicholas Galanin (Tlingit/Aleut)

    Culture cannot be contained as it unfolds. My art enters this stream at different points, looking backards, looking forwards, generating its own sound and motion. - Nicholas Galanin 

    Alaskan-based Tlingit artist Nicholas Galanin’s work is a poignant example of straddling the remarkable interstice between traditional and contemporary art. The aesthetic classifications of "craft," "contemporary," and "traditional" and/or "Native art" all conjure particular sets of expectations. Galanin’s work plays with these expectations. His work travels two parallel paths. One path follows an expected trajectory in traditional carving and jewelry that his great-grandfather passed to his father. The second path veers off dramatically with inquiry into satire and iconoclasm, and encompasses more of the artist’s "contemporary" art practice seen in museums and galleries. However, the expected signifiers of cultural object or ethnographic art are undermined in his practice by the conceptual nature of his process. By outsourcing the production of some of his work, Galanin subverts the idea of the folkloric Indian artist and replaces that narrative with a sense of globalized craft that carries into Indian art and wider culture. Referencing and exploiting the interplay of art, culture, and commerce, Galanin’s work examines shifting cultures as if they were tectonic plates, the monumental movement within them creating faults, mountains, and earthquakes as cultures assimilate, adapt, and expropriate. 


    Nicholas Galanin (Tlingit/Aleut)
    I Think It Goes Like This?,
    2012
    Wood, paint
    Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship Acquisition Fund 

    An examination of the shifting nature of indigeneity can be seen in I Think it Goes Like This?, a seeming puzzle of dissected totem pole or sculptural elements, disassembled and installed as a pile of disparate but related elements. Painted matte black, the carvings protocol is all mixed up. Which clan animal goes where? The eagle is not on top. Is there even an eagle? Indians are all about eagles. The artist cuts up expectations and rule books in his push to question and innovate. As much as Galanin likes to mix up and target cultural stereotypes with satire, his work is also about having big heart and a deep respect for his cultural heritage. –Tania Willard (2013)

     
    Nicholas Galanin (Tlingit/Aleut)
    The American Dream is Alie and Well, 2012
    United States flag, felt, .50 caliber ammunition, foam, gold leaf, plastic
    collection of the artist

    Being brought up both in and away from my indigenous culture, I have experienced a very different perspective on my heritage than my great-grandparents would have known. The generational spread that our cultural community encompasses moves far beyond a romantic ideal commonly associated with the term “Indian Art.” We are being culturally dishonest if we reject all that passes through our culture. –Nicholas Galanin (2013)


    Nicholas Galanin (Tlingit/Aleut)
    No Indians or Dogs Allowed, 2008
    Neon, photography
    Courtesy of the Pratt Museum

    The piece [is] an investigation of historical and current prejudice and policies of persistent racism against indigenous people in the artist’s home of Alaska and globally. This work [includes] a neon sign that was placed in storefronts, an assertion of current political climates and a foray into new materials and media that [is] suggestive of the development of the artist’s later work.  –Tania Willard (2013)

    Schedule for opening weekend of RED:Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship
    Friday
    NOV 8
    5:30–7:30 p.m.
    Celebration!
    $40 – includes Saturday’s activities
    To commemorate the opening of RED: the Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship, the museum will honor the five Native Fellowship winners with an intimate gathering that celebrates their artistic accomplishments.

    7:30 p.m.–12 a.m.
    Contemporary Arts Party
    $15 at the door, $10 in advance – includes Saturday’s activities
    Celebrate the opening of RED by partying all night to the sounds of A Tribe Called Red and DJ Kyle Long of the Cultural Cannibals. Additional entertainment will be provided by the comedy improve group the 1491s, Big Car, Know No Stranger, and more!
    Tickets are available for purchase at www.Eiteljorg.org

    Saturday

    NOV 9
    All Day
    RED: Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship
    Be among the first to experience RED.
    Opening Day a
    ctivities include a gallery tour with the Fellows from 10 a.m.-12 p.m and from 1–3 p.m. a presentation by comedic cultural critics, the 1491s. Saturday's event is in collaboration with the 2013 Spirit & Place Festival. This festival reaches 20,000 people each year through dozens of “never before seen” programs that promote growth of the human spirit.

    ABOUT THE EITELJORG CONTEMPORARY ART FELLOWSHIP
     Nicholas is one of five 2013 Fellows and his artwork will be featured in the exhibition RED: The Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship, opening Nov. 9. This biennial program recognizes the accomplishments of one invited and four juried Fellows, which are chosen by a panel of independent experts. As part of the Fellowship, each artist receives a $25,000 unrestricted cash award and their work is exhibited and further explored in an accompanying catalog. In addition, the museum purchases a total of over $100,000 worth of art from the Fellows for the permanent collection, adding to a body of work that has given the Eiteljorg Museum a collection of Native contemporary art that has been referred to as the “greatest in the world.”

    Go comment!




  • Eiteljorg Insider | 5 Questions with Contemporary Curator Jennifer Complo McNutt

    by Jaq Nigg, Eiteljorg festivals and markets manager | Oct 14, 2013

    We caught up with the Eiteljorg’s curator of contemporary art after a hectic week of working with photographers for images for the upcoming Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship publication. Jennifer believes the Eiteljorg has the greatest collection of Native American fine art in the world. She should know. She’s been with the museum since 1991 – just two years after we opened – and has been instrumental in building the collection.

    Contemporary curator Jennifer Complo McNutt

    Favorite piece of art in the Eiteljorg collection: One favorite is Dry Ditch by Kenneth Miller Adams. Jennifer is a painter at heart. Kenneth Miller Adams, The Dry Ditch, 1964The strong slightly exaggerated triangular composition is a sight for sore eyes; the dry methodic application of paint mirrors the oppressive unrelenting heat; the figures expressions and gestures pulling them down; and the wiggling upturned posture of the child is hope, perseverance, why we don't give up, what we give for the future.

     1. What inspires you?
    A world without blogs. Living with dogs. Helping ideas become real. Making art accessible to everyone, no matter how complicated it is.

     2. If you could steal any piece of art in the world to have in your home, what would it be?
    If I am going to steal anything it wouldn’t be art. . .steal a glance, steal a moment, steal away. . .

     3. If you weren’t a museum curator, what would you do?
    Whatever I had to. . .

     4. Do you collect anything?
    Yes. Denzel Washington. My collection is currently incomplete.

     5. If you could spend the afternoon with anyone – living or dead – who would it be?
    I try not to spend time with dead people. If I choose a dead person to hang out with it would be my father. A living person: Bill Clinton, hands down. What do they both have in common? They were/are smart and funny. Forget smart without funny . . . that’s not smart.

    Pictured above:
    Kenneth Adams (American, 1897-1966)
    The Dry Ditch, 1964
    Oil on canvas
    Gift Courtesy of Harrison Eiteljorg

    Go comment!




  • Meet the Fellows | Julie Buffalohead (Part I of V)

    by Jennifer Complo McNutt, Eiteljorg contemporary art curator | Oct 09, 2013

    Each week the Eiteljorg blog will feature a profile of artists who will be featured in RED: Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship. The exhibit opens Nov. 9. Details below!

    Julie Buffalohead (Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma)

              My recent series reflects a journey of a more personal nature. The narrative tension my work creates emanates from the Native oral tradition of storytelling, while I blend in my own distinct strands of make-believe. –Julie Buffalohead

    Julie Buffalohead dreams a world. It is a world where oppressive societal mores are reenacted, challenged, and overcome by the meek. Small animals, rabbits and raccoons, birds and bears, and even Coyote the trickster have moments of tenderness, despair, and triumph as they meander through the ambiguous spaces of Buffalohead’s paintings.  

     Fearsome Critter, 2012. Mixed media on paper. Image courtesy the Bockley Gallery.

    Heart Sick, 2012. Mixed media on paper. Image courtesy the Bockley Gallery.    

    The Medusa Syndrome, 2010. Mixed media on paper. Image courtesy the Bockley Gallery.

         The fine, facile drawings are accentuated with the modeled and measured application of paint. It is an application that creates a quiet understanding of each element it describes, be it architectural or animal. Buffalohead creates a theater in the settings of her paintings: the woods, the bathroom, and the front yard, in a sandbox or a wading pool. The understated settings are the stage for monsters of domesticity, myths of motherhood, a fairytale history of America, personal experiences, and homage to Ponca culture. All are expressed through Buffalohead’s private visual language, a language so intriguing that it transports the viewer to another worldview: hers.

         Born in 1972, Buffalohead is an enrolled member of the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma. She received her bachelor of fine arts degree from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 1995 and a master of fine arts degree from Cornell University in 2001. She currently resides in Minneapolis and has received many prestigious awards, including the McKnight Foundation Fellowship for Visual Arts and a Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant. A prolific artist, Buffalohead pursues in her current work a tireless personal and sociopolitical investigation based on being a woman, mother, Native, and conscientious observer. 

    –Excerpt from Julie Buffalohead: Fighter of the Good Fight
    by Jennifer Complo McNutt 
    (from RED: Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship exhibition catalog).

    Schedule for opening weekend of RED:Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship
    Friday
    NOV 8
    5:30–7:30 p.m.
    Celebration!
    $40 – includes Saturday’s activities
    To commemorate the opening of RED: the Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship, the museum will honor the five Native Fellowship winners with an intimate gathering that celebrates their artistic accomplishments.  
    7:30 p.m.–12 a.m.

    Contemporary Arts Party
    $15 at the door, $10 in advance – includes Saturday’s activities
    Celebrate the opening of RED by partying all night to the sounds of A Tribe Called Red and DJ Kyle Long of the Cultural Cannibals.  Additional entertainment will be provided by the comedy improve group the 1491s, Big Car, Know No Stranger, and more!
    Tickets are available for purchase at www.Eiteljorg.org
     
    Saturday

    NOV 9
    All Day
    RED: Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship
    Be among the first to experience RED.
    Opening Day a
    ctivities include a gallery tour with the Fellows from 10 a.m.-12 p.m and from 1–3 p.m. a presentation by comedic cultural critics, the 1491s. Saturday's event is in collaboration with the 2013 Spirit  & Place Festival. This festival reaches 20,000 people each year through dozens of “never before seen” programs that promote growth of the human spirit.

    ABOUT THE EITELJORG CONTEMPORARY ART FELLOWSHIP
    Julie is one of five 2013 Fellows and her artwork will be featured in the exhibition RED: The Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship, opening Nov. 9. This biennial program recognizes the accomplishments of one invited and four juried Fellows, which are chosen by a panel of independent experts. As part of the Fellowship, each artist receives a $25,000 unrestricted cash award and their work is exhibited and further explored in an accompanying catalog. In addition, the museum purchases a total of over $100,000 worth of art from the Fellows for the permanent collection, adding to a body of work that has given the Eiteljorg Museum a collection of Native contemporary art that has been referred to as the “greatest in the world.”

     

    Go comment!




  • Upping your art intake

    by Claire Quimby, Eiteljorg intern | Jul 02, 2013

    Climbing the stairs to the second floor at the Eiteljorg, you are likely to be drawn to the large steatite Buffalo Dancer sculpture by Doug Hyde before making your way to the main galleries. It’s easy to miss a very intriguing work located in this foyer. Tucked in the corner, like you used to see in the entry of every bar and restaurant, is a shiny cigarette vending machine.
    artomat
    Did you do a double-take? Aren’t cigarette machines a thing of the past? And why would a museum be promoting tobacco consumption? This isn’t an ordinary cigarette vending machine – it’s an Art-o-Mat. The Art-o-Mat is a “fine arts vending machine,” refurbished and given a new purpose by artists Clark Whittington and Reed Maxwell. Whittington and Maxwell have reclaimed over 100 vintage machines and stocked them not with cigarettes, but small works of art for purchase.
    artomat
    Clark Whittington unloading a machine to be refurbished.

    The machine itself is a beautiful piece of industrial design (check out a gallery of their machines here). What’s inside is equally cool. Spend $5, pull a knob, and the Art-o-Mat will deliver you a piece of mini art from one of ten featured artists – anything from prints and paintings to small ceramics, pendants, and even tiny quilts.

    A sampling of artworks for sale from the Art-o-Mat
    artomat
    The inner workings of the Art-o-Mat

    It’s fun to pull the knob and claim your prize, but with the Art-o-Mat, you’re engaging in a different type of consumption from your typical vending machine purchase. Art feeds your brain and your soul. It’s good for you. And $5 in this vending machine isn’t just a monetary transaction. The Art-o-Mat helps disseminate the work of talented individuals. It also encourages people to appreciate something small but significant – a work that arose out of someone’s creativity and inspiration.artomat whittington
    Whittington helped found Artists in Cellophane, an organization dedicated to promoting art consumptions and making art more approachable.

    It’s amazing to see those kinds of benefits from an old cigarette vending machine. In fact, I think that’s the wonderful thing about the Art-o-Mat. Sometimes we think of art as being a thing you find within a museum or a gallery, something you see on a special outing, or something you have to go out of your way to experience. The Art-o-Mat is all about distributing art to the world through a mundane machine, making it commonplace and easier to enjoy. And we should enjoy art everyday – not just the days we spend in museums. If you can’t get to an Art-o-Mat (here’s a map of the 100+ machines nationwide), don’t worry. Here are a few ideas from our staff on other ways to get your daily dose of art:

     -          Scan the flyers and handbills posted at your favorite coffee shop. Local budding artists are always looking for new audiences.
     -          Step outside your usual routine and listen to a new genre of music.
     -          Stop to admire a public sculpture.
     -          Go the digital route and add a Daily Dose of Art to your Facebook newsfeed.
     -          Browse your favorite artist or medium online – many museums now offer access to their collections through their websites. (I like perusing the costume collection on the MET website.)
    -          Engage your inner artist and make something!

    Art is not something confined to a frame or inside a gallery. It is in everything and everywhere, but it is up to us and how we perceive beauty and novelty. – Paulina Constancia of daily-dose-of-art.com

    artomat
        From artomat.org

    Claire Quimby
    Eiteljorg intern

    Go comment!
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