Jaune Quick-to-See Smith - Decolonizing the Exhibition


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Thursday, November 29, 2018


5:30 pm


College Center Villard Room

Opening Event and Reception for Imagining Indigenous Futures

A panel discussion entitled Decolonizing the Exhibition: Four Perspectives on Indigenous Visual Culture in the Museum Space, will focus on the ways contemporary Indigenous art has historically been understood, collected, and displayed; the extent to which Imagining Indigenous Futures in the Palmer Gallery has reckoned with these concerns; and some of the ways contemporary Indigenous artists continued to narrate their own histories and realities despite certain market demands and colonizing stereotypes. Panelists will include Salish artist Jaune Quick-to-See Smith; Vassar Professor of Native American Studies Molly McGlennen; art collector and donor Edward J. Guarino; and a Vassar student enrolled in the course Decolonizing the Exhibition. The panel will be followed by a reception with refreshments in the Palmer Gallery.

Historically, Indigenous art has been collected and exhibited in ethnographical ways by framing objects as nameless crafts and by rendering Native peoples and their histories through a romanticized and fated lens. With Decolonizing the Exhibition: Imagining Indigenous Futures, Professor McGlennen and her students aim to unsettle this enduring curatorial tradition by using the stories, writings, and theorization of exclusively Indigenous artists and scholars to contextualize the contemporary works. The exhibition will include 31 works by 18 Native artists representing nations across Indigenous North America. McGlennen and her class hope to reveal the various ways artists -- such as Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Kent Monkman, Shan Goshorn, and Rick Bartow – engage in vibrant, decolonial labor essential in contesting colonizing narratives, which have worked to render Indigenous people invisible, taxonimized, and disposable. All of the works in this exciting exhibition challenge the inevitability of those common assumptions while they project the beautiful and innovational ways Indigenous visual culture expresses sovereign futurity.

Melissa McAlley

American Studies