Palm Springs Art Museum
Palm Desert
Edwards Harris Center
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COMIC ART INDIGĂ©NE

June 16th – September 18th, 2011
Palm Springs Art Museum

Comic art is now mainstream. It is a source for award-winning fiction, highly-budgeted motion pictures, and endless streams of merchandising such as toys and video games. Yet comic book art remains an enigma, its most popular genre has always been directed towards a young audience hindering its growth and acceptance among artists and critics.

Comic strips, and its unruly offspring, comic books are maturing as an indigenous American art form. Two-fisted tales of suspense showcasing fantastic heroes and villains interacting with gods old and new have also always been a part of Native American culture. Comic Art Indigène examines how American Indian artists articulate identity, art, worldview, politics and culture through the kinetic expression of sequential art. Inspired by this unique medium, using its icons, tropes and dynamism, this is a new world of American Indian art, full of the brash excitement first seen on newsprint a century ago, sometimes unrefined, even crude at times, but never sterile.

Using images and art spanning from the 13th century to contemporary works, Comic Art Indigène begins with the image of the red, white and blue All American Man, a shield-carrying warrior pictograph of the Pueblo II period (c. 1290), and is contrasted with an image of that other red, white and blue, shield-hurling hero, Captain America. Traditional media such as ceramics, beadwork and painting are represented, however the subject matter may surprise those expecting standard romanticized scenes of Native American life.

This exhibition has been organized by the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture/Laboratory of Anthropology, Santa Fe, NM. The Palm Springs Art Museum presentation is made possible by a grant from the James Irvine Foundation and Donna and Cargill MacMillan, Jr.