A little background: In the 1830s George Catlin, a painter, traveled across the Great Plains in order to document the "manners, customs, and conditions" of the Native American Plains tribes. Catlin roughly followed the Missouri River, journeying nearly 2,000 miles, and in doing so produced his Indian Gallery, a body of work that catalogued individuals and activities of fifty different tribes.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, artists from around the world began making art by reworking existing films and using other moving image technologies like video. One pioneer of this new art form is Raphael Montañez-Ortiz. Born in 1934 in Brooklyn, New York, Montañez-Ortiz attended Pratt Institute in the 1960s. During this time he also studied Native American cultures, in part motivated by a desire to explore his own indigenous heritage.
On October 16th-17th, over two hundred international participants gathered at the Smithsonian American Art Museum for the symposium "Shifting Terrain: Mapping a Transnational American Art History," to reflect upon the increasing globalization of American art history during the past decade and how this affects research on art practice here.
Now on tour! Many Wests: Artists Shape an American Idea, a collaboration among SAAM and four partner museums, offers counterviews of “the West” and showcases modern and contemporary artists who are who are reclaiming the narratives of their region.