Jessica L. Horton

Assistant Professor, Art HistoryUniversity of Delaware

Award Information

2011 IDRF Program

Visual and Cultural StudiesUniversity of Rochester

Places to Stand: History, Memory and Location in Native North American Art

Spurred by a recent proliferation of international art residencies and biennial exhibitions, Native North American artists are regularly exhibiting their works of art in urban centers around the globe. In Places to Stand: History, Memory and Location in Native North American Art, I consider the political, conceptual and aesthetic dimensions of artists’ movement from local and national exhibition contexts into the so-called “itinerant” world of traveling curators, unpredictable art audiences and temporary art installations (Kwon 2004:46). Although art-world globalization is usually discussed in the context of late capitalism, my project also seeks to excavate earlier, little explored transnational moments in Native North American art and history in order to consider their relationship to contemporary artistic practice. Artists such as Rebecca Belmore, Jimmie Durham, James Luna, Edgar Heap of Birds and Arthur Amiotte frequently look to these earlier histories to establish the “ground” upon which to conceive new works of art for locations abroad. Their interventions are gradually producing a sustained indigenous artistic presence in cities like Venice and Sydney. In this dissertation I ask, in what ways do such historically informed, place-based engagements work against the disorienting flux of contemporary transnational experience? Can the movement outside of the fraught terrain of the settler colonial nation open up new possibilities for connecting to faraway people and places? What is lost and what is gained through this process?

Publications