APEX: Wendy Red Star
Sep 6, 2014 – Dec 7, 2014
Wendy Red Star’s socially critical installation draws inspiration and employs imagery from growing up on the Crow Indian Reservation in south-central Montana. Historic photographs and regalia are juxtaposed with tapestries, text, and objects she has constructed to re-humanize a past tribal leader whose image has been appropriated for commercial use. Photographs of Chief Medicine Crow (c. 1848-1920) were taken in Washington, D.C., when he and four other tribal leaders were coerced into signing a treaty ceding a portion of tribal lands to the United States Government. His image has frequently been used to represent a stereotypical, nameless, Indian “brave.” Red Star’s newest installation is an extension of her earlier work, which employed gender-focused, political self-imagery, not unlike the art of Cindy Sherman, Ana Mendieta, and Frida Kahlo, to draw attention to the marginalization of Native Americans. In APEX, by replicating a historical museum diorama, she names and honors Medicine Crow, and revises the white man’s historical paradigm.
APEX is an ongoing series of exhibitions of Northwest-based artists, curated by Bonnie Laing-Malcolmson, The Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Curator of Northwest Art.