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Indian Theater 

June 24 – November 26, 2023 → Hessel Museum of Art 


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Indian Theater will explore Native North American art through the framework of performance, abstraction, and material experimentation that emerged from the Institute of American Indian Arts’ theatre department in the late 1960s. The first large-scale exhibition of its kind to center performance as the origin point for contemporary Indigenous practice, Indian Theater will feature over 100 works that engage notions of sound and instrumentation, dress and adornment, and the body and its absence by artists representing a range of geographies and cultural viewpoints, including Dana Claxton (Lakota), Ishi Glinsky (Tohono O’odham), Jeneen Frei Njootli (Vuntut Gwitchin), and James Luna (Payómkawichum, Ipai, and Mexican), among many others. The exhibition features key selections from Forge Project’s lending collection, archival materials, and newly commissioned activations by Rebecca Belmore (Anishinaabe) and Eric-Paul Riege (Diné).


Curated by Candice Hopkins (Carcross/Tagish First Nation), Forge Project’s Executive Director and CCS Bard Fellow in Indigenous Art History and Curatorial Studies, this major exhibition celebrates the partnership established in 2022 with Forge Project to provide dedicated programming on key topics and methods in Native American and Indigenous studies throughout the Bard network. Indian Theater will be accompanied in the fall by the release of the first publication dedicated to the evolution of Native North American performance in contemporary art over the past 60 years, with newly commissioned essays and reprints of critical texts by leading Indigenous scholars and artists.


Exhibition artists: KC Adams (Métis), Asinnajaq (Inuk), Sonny Assu (Ligwiłda'xw Kwakwaka'wakw from Wei Wai Kum Nation), Natalie Ball (Klamath/Modoc), Rick Bartow (Wiyot), Rebecca Belmore (Member of the Lac Seul First Nation (Anishinaabe)), Bob Boyer (Métis), Dana Claxton (Lakota), TJ Cuthand (Plains Cree, Scottish, Irish), Ruth Cuthand (Plains Cree, Scottish, Irish, Canadian), Beau Dick (Kwakwaka’wakw, Musgamakw Dzawada’enuxw First Nation), Demian DinéYahzi’ (Diné), Rosalie Favell (Métis (Cree/ British)), Jeneen Frei Njootli (Vuntut Gwitchin, Czech and Dutch), Nicholas Galanin (Tlingit/Unangax̂), Jeffrey Gibson (Member of The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, and half Cherokee), Ishi Glinsky (Tohono O'odham), Raven Halfmoon (Caddo), Gabrielle L'Hirondelle Hill (Métis), Sky Hopinka (Ho-Chunk Nation/Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians), Maria Hupfield (Ojibwe and a member of the Wasauksing First Nation) , Matthew Kirk (Navajo), Kite (Oglala Sioux Tribe), Cannupa Hanska Luger (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Lakota), Tanya Lukin Linklater (Native Villages of Afognak and Port Lions), James Luna (Payómkawichum, Ipai, and Mexican), Rachel Martin (Tlingit/Tsaagweidei, Killer Whale Clan, of the Yellow Cedar House (Xaai Hit’) Eagle Moiety), Kent Monkman (Cree member of Fisher River Cree Nation in Treaty 5 Territory (Manitoba)), Audie Murray (Métis), Lloyd Kiva New (Cherokee), New Red Order (Adam Khalil (Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians); Zack Khalil (Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians); Jackson Polys (Tlingit)), Jessie Oonark (Inuk), Jaune Quick-to-See Smith (Salish member of the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Nation), Eric-Paul Riege (Diné), Walter Scott (Kahnawá:ke), Spiderwoman Theater, Charlene Vickers (Anishinaabe), Kay WalkingStick (Citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and Anglo), Marie Watt (Seneca and German-Scot), Dyani White Hawk (Sicangu Lakota), and Nico Williams (Anishinaabe)


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