Palm Springs Art Museum
Palm Desert
Edwards Harris Center
  • Home
  • Complete Events Calendar - filter

Changing the Tone: Contemporary American Indian Photographers

February 20th – May 29th, 2016
Palm Springs Art Museum, Clayes III Wing, Faude & New Media Gallery

This exhibition, which features works by artists of Native American heritage including Gerald Clarke, Lewis deSoto, Nicholas Galanin, Kent Monkman, Shelley Niro, and Will Wilson, provides a contemporary context for the historical photographs of Edward Curtis. In images that reflect on portraiture, cultural heritage, and their relationship to the land, these artists offer diverse perspectives on Native American identity as well as on critical issues around photography as a documentary medium, i.e., the extent to which it is fact, fiction, or some combination of both. In his portraits, Curtis manipulated native props and costumes while excising any western elements in his images, eliminating signs of modern life and creating a romanticized impression of a pre-European society. The contemporary artists presented here offer a counterpoint through their own constructed imagery. They provide a variety of responses that allow viewers to consider the role of photography in portraying a people, their culture, and their ongoing history.

Lewis deSoto, Empire Series, Palm Springs–15 June 10, 2013, © Lewis deSoto
Lewis deSoto, Empire Series, Palm Springs–6 January 13, 2013, © Lewis deSoto
Lewis deSoto, Empire Series, Redlands–1, June 24, 2014, © Lewis deSoto
Lewis deSoto, Empire Series: Rialto - 4 October 5, 2013 , © Lewis deSoto
Kent Monkman, The Emergence of a Legend: 5 Photographs of Miss Chief Eagle Testickle 2, 2006, chromogenic prints on metallic paper, © Kent Monkman
Kent Monkman, The Emergence of a Legend: 5 Photographs of Miss Chief Eagle Testickle 3, 2006, chromogenic prints on metallic paper, © Kent Monkman
Kent Monkman, The Emergence of a Legend: 5 Photographs of Miss Chief Eagle Testickle 1, 2006, chromogenic prints on metallic paper, © Kent Monkman
Kent Monkman, The Emergence of a Legend: 5 Photographs of Miss Chief Eagle Testickle 5, 2006, chromogenic prints on metallic paper, © Kent Monkman
Nicholas Galanin, Tsu Heidel Shugaxtutaan, 2006, 2 channel video, © Nicholas Galanin
Nicholas Galanin, Tsu Heidel Shugaxtutaan, 2006, 2 channel video, © Nicholas Galanin
Gerald Clarke, Motifs from the Series One Tract Mind, 2009, digital print on canvas, © Gerald Clarke

This exhibition, which features works by artists of Native American heritage including Gerald Clarke, Lewis deSoto, Nicholas Galanin, Kent Monkman, Shelley Niro, and Will Wilson, provides a contemporary context for the historical photographs of Edward Curtis. In images that reflect on portraiture, cultural heritage, and their relationship to the land, these artists offer diverse perspectives on Native American identity as well as on critical issues around photography as a documentary medium, i.e., the extent to which it is fact, fiction, or some combination of both. In his portraits, Curtis manipulated native props and costumes while excising any western elements in his images, eliminating signs of modern life and creating a romanticized impression of a pre-European society. The contemporary artists presented here offer a counterpoint through their own constructed imagery. They provide a variety of responses that allow viewers to consider the role of photography in portraying a people, their culture, and their ongoing history. 

This exhibition is organized by Palm Springs Art Museum with funding from Roswitha Kima Smale and John Renner.