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Cowboy and "Indian" Film

1957-1958 Raphael Montañez Ortiz Born: New York 1934 16 mm film, black and white, sound Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Gary Wolkowitz © 1957-1958, Raphael Montañez Ortiz 2011.31 Not currently on view

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Ortiz produced experimental works in which he used existing films as the raw material for his own art. In Cowboy and “Indian” Film, he ritually chopped up several copies of Anthony Mann’s classic Western Winchester ’73 (1950) and then randomly reassembled snippets to completely destroy the original movie’s narrative and audiovisual integrity. Ortiz considered his shaman-like process resonant with his indigenous heritage. His destructive act also criticized media depictions of Native Americans.

Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art, 2013


media arts