The Westmoreland Museum of American Art plans spring show on native art
The Westmoreland Museum of American Art invites visitors to a spring exhibit and programming exploring Native American culture and the effects of colonialism.
Anchoring the effort will be “Mingled Visions: The Photographs of Edward S. Curtis and Will Wilson,” on display March 30 through June 30.
“Mingled Visions” compares two photographers documenting Native American life, according to museum staff. Edward S. Curtis spent three decades in the late 19th and early 20th centuries photographing and documenting American Indian life, culminating in more than 40,000 photographic images of more than 80 tribes throughout the American West.
Working in a similar historical photographic process, Diné photographer Will Wilson resumes Curtis’ documentary mission from the standpoint of a 21st-century indigenous artist.
He challenges the assumption that Native people are frozen in time, inviting indigenous artists, arts professionals and tribal governance to engage in the performative ritual in the studio portrait.
That ritual will be made available to the public in a free event from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. May 18, as Wilson sets up a working portrait studio in the museum.
He will use a large-format camera and historic wet plate collodion process to make participants’ portraits, set in his series of contemporary tintypes. Subjects will receive their tintype portrait, and an image scan will be included in Wilson’s ongoing portraiture project.
Property ownership acknowledged
As part of the exhibit and additional related events, planners say, the museum will release a land statement acknowledging the Adena, Hopewell, Monongahela, Delaware, Shawnee and Seneca-Cayuga communities on whose land the site stands. In the future, a permanent plaque will be installed.
“As a museum of American art, we have a responsibility to reflect the diversity of this country and its artists,” says Anne Kraybill, the Richard M. Scaife Director and CEO of The Westmoreland. “It’s important not only to acknowledge the tribes that preceded us on this land and honor their traditions but also to celebrate contemporary Native American creators.”
• 7:30 p.m. April 12, Art on Tap 2.0 will feature “1491s,” a Native American sketch comedy group depicting contemporary Native American life using humor and satire to explore issues such as stereotypes and racism, tribal politics and conflicts between tradition and modernity. A 5-9 p.m. reception will include light bites from Elegant Catering and an art scavenger hunt, $30.
• 2-3 p.m. April 28, Shannon Egan, Schmucker Art Gallery of Gettysburg College, presents “A True Indian: The Art, Artifice, and Politics of Edward S. Curtis’s North American Indian.” Free.
• Noon-5 p.m. May 5, The Council of the Three Rivers Native American Center presents a celebration of Native American culture, with dance performances, music, storytelling, art activities and food. Free.
• 6-9 p.m. June 1, “Reclaiming Native American Food,” dinner and discussion with chef Sean Sherman, Oglala Lakota and founder of The Sioux Chef catering and food education business in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. He will address Native American farming techniques, wild food usage and harvesting, cooking techniques and native cultural history. $60.
New hours, cafe opening
Along with free admission, the museum will be open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, effective March 30.
In addition, Café Marchand with culinary partner French Express will open in the spring, serving sandwiches, salads, soup, baguettes and cheese plates, along with wines and Pennsylvania craft beers.
Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-836-5401, [email protected] or via Twitter .