Raphael Montañez Ortiz’s Cowboy and "Indian" Film

Meet the Artists of Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art

Media - 2011.31 - SAAM-2011.31_1 - 81892

Raphael Montañez Ortiz, Cowboy and "Indian" Film, 1957-1958, 16 mm film, black and white, sound, Smithsonian American Art Museum

About this Artwork

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.

Acerca de esta obra

Ortiz produjo obras experimentales en las cuales utilizó películas existentes como materia prima para su propio arte. En su obra Cowboy and “Indian” Film cortó ritualmente varias copias del western clásico Winchester ’73 (1950) de Anthony Mann, y luego ensambló al azar los trozos para destruir totalmente la narrativa original y la integridad audiovisual de la película. Ortiz consideraba que su proceso chamanístico resonaba con su herencia indígena. Su acto destructivo también critica la manera en que los medios de comunicación representan a los indígenas americanos.