Anishinaabe Artists, of the Great Lakes? Problematizing the Exhibition of Place in Native American Art
This article discusses the relationship between Native American art and place as a curatorial strategy in the recent exhibition Before and After the Horizon: Anishinaabe Artists of the Great Lakes. It is argued that while the Anishinaabe connection to the Great Lakes region as a spiritual, cultural, and epistemological center is essential to the art of the exhibition, the curators present this place as timeless and unchanging. The result is an interpretation of the Native American relationship to place that is idealized, ahistorical, and inaccurate to the tumultuous legacy of colonialism. Rather, as the art on display makes clear despite the curatorial context, the relationship to place is dynamic and changing. Other recent exhibitions of indigenous art show that these curatorial decisions were not unavoidable and that Native American art can be exhibited to show that its relationship to place has adapted and changed while still being maintained.
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