Museum receives major Terra grant for Indigenous/American Art project

Museum receives major Terra grant for Indigenous/American Art project

April 16, 2019 | Published by MMA
White Swan, Apsaalooke, 1851 – 1904, Untitled (White Swan Riding Through Gunfire), about 1890, graphite and colored pencil on wove canvas paper. Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Mark Lansburgh Ledger Drawing Collection; Partial gift of Mark Lansburgh, Class of 1949; and partial purchase through the Mrs. Harvey P. Hood W'18 Fund, and the Offices of the President and Provost of Dartmouth College; 2007.65.93.
White Swan, Apsaalooke, 1851 – 1904, Untitled (White Swan Riding Through Gunfire), about 1890, graphite and colored pencil on wove canvas paper. Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Mark Lansburgh Ledger Drawing Collection; Partial gift of Mark Lansburgh, Class of 1949; and partial purchase through the Mrs. Harvey P. Hood W’18 Fund, and the Offices of the President and Provost of Dartmouth College; 2007.65.93.

The McMaster Museum of Art is pleased to announce that it has received a grant of over $100,000 CDN from the Chicago-based Terra Foundation for American Art. The Foundation supports exhibitions and scholarship at institutions worldwide from the Musée d’Orsay to Tate Modern. This exceptional grant for McMaster will fund the upcoming curatorial project, Peripheral Vision(s): Perspectives on the “Indian” image by 19th century Northern Plains warrior-artists, Leonard Baskin, and Fritz Scholder. Peripheral Vision(s) is curated by Rhéanne Chartrand, Curator of Indigenous Art at the McMaster Museum of Art (MMA), with guest scholar and acclaimed curator, Dr. Gerald McMaster.

“It is such a tremendous honour, and so early in my curatorial career, to receive the financial support of the Terra Foundation for American Art, and to do so on a project whereby I am co-curating with one of my long-time mentors,” Chartrand notes. “This project is borne out of our mutual and ongoing interest in interrogating the “Indian” image, applying gaze theory and the praxis of survivance to the critical analysis of Indigenous art, and building Indigenous art histories from an Indigenous perspective. I am so grateful to MMA Director / Chief Curator, Carol Podedworny, for allowing Gerald and I to realize this project at MMA, and for being able to showcase its collection alongside works from distinguished Canadian and American collections”

In essence, Peripheral Vision(s) acknowledges the positionality of the included artists by framing their vision(s) within a cross-cultural/cross-temporal space-time in order to make sense of how the past informs the present, and how, when looking back, our understanding of the “Indian” image depends on where we are standing and what is within our gaze or line of sight. This curatorial project will generate insights on image-making, self-representation, misrepresentation, naming, and the overall intent of portraiture, and contributes to McMaster University’s goal to produce new Indigenous research by Indigenous scholars. The exhibition will be presented at the MMA in the fall of 2019.

The Terra Foundation for American Art is dedicated to fostering exploration, understanding, and enjoyment of the visual arts of the United States for national and international audiences. Proposals are reviewed by an external panel of scholars and curators who are specialists in historical American art (circa 1500–1980).

“The Terra Foundation for American Art’s support is a first for McMaster,” says MMA Director Carol Podedworny. “It confirms the importance of the project’s scholarly contributions to both Indigenous art history and exhibition production in Canada. It’s something to be celebrated.”

The Art

The exhibition will present eleven of McMaster Museum of Art’s twenty-seven “Indian portraits” by Jewish-American artist, Leonard Baskin (1922-2000), generously donated to MMA by Baskin’s brother, a long-time Hamilton resident, Rabbi Bernard Baskin. Works by Luiseño-American artist, Fritz Scholder (1937-2005), are generously on loan from the following American institutions: Harwood Museum of Art at the University of New Mexico (Taos, NM), IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (Santa Fe, NM), Minneapolis Museum of Art (Minneapolis, MN), and Tucson Museum of Art (Tucson, AZ). Ledger drawings by 19th century Northern Plains warrior-artists, including the renowned Short Bull (c.1845-1923), are drawn from both regional and American institutions including: the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College (Hanover, NH), the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto, ON), and Simcoe County Museum (Minesing, ON).

The Scholarship

The exhibition will be accompanied by a significant publication exploring the “Indian” image with scholarly essays by some of the most prominent Indigenous and non-Indigenous voices within the fields of Indigenous art history and art criticism today: Janet Berlo, Professor of Art/Art History and Visual Culture at University of Rochester; Christina E. Burke, Curator of Native American & Non-Western Art, Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa, OK; Paul Chaat Smith, Associate Curator at the National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, DC; Dr. Gerald McMaster, curator, artist, author, and  Tier 1 Canada Research Chair of Indigenous Visual Culture and Curatorial Practice, Ontario College of Art and Design University, Toronto, ON; and Jeffrey Thomas, independent photo-based artist and research and recipient of the 2019 Governor General Award for the Visual Arts. Coordinating curator and MMA’s Curator of Indigenous Art, Rhéanne Chartrand, will also contribute an essay to this publication, accompanied by a foreword by MMA Director / Chief Curator, Carol Podedworny.

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For more information about the exhibition, please contact:
Rhéanne Chartrand, Curator of Indigenous Art, McMaster Museum of Art
905-525-9140 ext. 27573   chartrr@mcmaster.ca

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