Distances, Origins, and Other Concerns
What Now? 2017 The Politics of Land
Thursday, August 31, 2017
Art in General
145 Plymouth Street, Brooklyn
Free and open to the public
Art in General presents an artist’s talk by Duane Linklater that continues its season-long inquiry into the politics of land. The artist will be joined by artists and theorists Bryan Cockrell, Malik Gaines, Alan Michelson, Nicholas Mirzeoff, Jackson Polys and Maya Valladares.
Linklater is an Omaskêko Ininiwak artist from Moose Cree First Nation whose broader practice is concerned with the physical and theoretical structures of the museum in relations to current and historical conditions of Indigenous people and their objects and forms. His current work revolves around the investigation of a specific Cree object, a beaded hood from the mid-1800s currently on public view in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Through images, artistic work and a new set of ideas developed specifically for this occasion, Linklater will negotiate complex questions around land politics, visual culture and ethics. In his words, “as an Indigenous person, a man, an artist—from multiple positions—I want to think about what my responsibility to this object is.” Conceived as an open letter to the Met, his talk will consider the hood, distances, origins and other concerns.
Linklater will be joined by artists and theorists who will contribute as respondents to his talk from various perspectives, including: anthropologist and educator Bryan Cockrell; Malik Gaines who works at the intersection of theory and practice around performance; artist Alan Michelson whose work investigates aspects of place, history and identity; visual cultural scholar and activist Nicholas Mirzeoff working at the intersection of politics, race and global culture; Jackson Polys whose artistic practice reflects inquiry into the limits and viability of desires for Indigenous growth; as well as artist and educator Maya Valladares whose work fuses traditional handwork techniques with social engagement.
This program is part of What Now? 2017, Art in General’s expanded symposium including exhibitions, public events, workshops, and artist interventions. This season-long program explores the politics related to geographic boundaries and the histories, possession, and accessibility of land.
Art in General would like to extend special thanks to the key funders of What Now? 2017; The Institute of Museum and Library Services (MA-10-14-0304-14) and the Trust for Mutual Understanding for their generous support. This program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council as well as a Humanities New York Action/Vision Grant. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Duane Linklater is Omaskêko Ininiwak from Moose Cree First Nation whose practice is concerned in part with the exploration of the physical and theoretical structures of the museum in relation to the current and historical conditions of Indigenous people and their objects and forms. Linklater holds a Master of Fine Arts (2012) from the Milton Avery Graduate School of Arts at Bard College, New York, and holds bachelor’s degrees in Fine Arts (2005) and Native Studies (2003) from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada. His work has been exhibited at prominent organizations nationally and internationally, including the Vancouver Art Gallery (Canada); Family Business Gallery (New York); Te Tuhi Centre for Arts Auckland (New Zealand); City Arts Centre in Edinburgh (Scotland); Institute of Contemporary Arts (Philadelphia); Utah Museum of Fine Arts (Salt Lake City); and more recently at the the SeMa Biennale (Seoul) and at 80WSE Gallery (New York). Linklater was the recipient of the 2016 Canada Council for the Arts Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award for Media Art; and the 2013 Sobey Art Award, an annual prize given to an artist under 40.
Bryan Cockrell is an educator, anthropologist, musician, and metalworker interested in sound as a means of constructing power and in technology as performance. He is currently a Curatorial Research Fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he works on the interpretation of metalwork from Central and South America. At Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, he worked on a major catalogue of archaeological materials from Central America and Colombia. Though much of his career has been in the technical analysis of archaeological materials, he now focuses on centering people before objects in the work he does, considering archaeology and academia more broadly through the lens of extraction. Bryan Cockrell also participates in the People’s Education Initiative in New York and, earlier, took part in the Prison University Project in California.
Malik Gaines is a writer and artist, a member of the performance group My Barbarian, and Assistant Professor of Performance Studies, New York University, Tisch School of the Arts. His work deals with performance practice and theory, black representation, and queer social tactics. Gaines’s book Black Performance on the Outskirts of the Left: A History of the Impossible (2017, NYU Press) traces a transnational circulation of political ideas through performances of the sixties and beyond. Since 2000, Gaines has performed and exhibited with collaborators Jade Gordon and Alexandro Segade as the group My Barbarian, in venues including MoMA, LACMA, SFMoMA, De Appel, El Matadero, Museo El Eco, Townhouse Gallery, and many others. Their work uses musical/theatrical and critical techniques to playfully act out social difficulties. Gaines also performs solo, and with other collaborative groups including Courtesy the Artists and A.R.M.
Alan Michelson is a New York-based, Mohawk artist whose work addresses intersections of place, history, and identity in multilayered, multimedia installations. With a diverse career as an artist and lecturer, Michelson has participated in numerous exhibitions including Sakahàn: International Indigenous Art, National Gallery of Canada (2013), the 5th Moscow Biennale (2013), and the18th Biennale of Sydney (2012) and his work is currently featured in The Western: An Epic in Art and Film at the Denver Art Museum. Michelson is the recipient of several awards, most recently the Macgeorge Fellowship at the University of Melbourne, Australia. His work is in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, and the National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, DC. Michelson’s practice includes public art, and present projects include Mantle, a permanent public monument commissioned by the Commonwealth of Virginia honoring Virginia’s Indian nations. Past work includes projects with the Public Art Fund, Inc., REPOhistory, and the U.S. General Services Administration, the commission for which he received the 2010 GSA Design Award and 2010 Public Art Network Year in Review. Michelson is co-founder and co-organizer, with the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at the New School, of the Indigenous New York initiative.
Nicholas Mirzoeff is a visual activist, working at the intersection of politics, race and global/visual culture. His book The Right to Look: A Counterhistory of Visuality (2011) won the Anne Friedberg Award for Innovative Scholarship from the Society of Cinema and Media Studies in 2013. His most recent book How To See The World was published by Pelican in the UK (2015) and by Basic Books in the US (2016). It has been translated into eight languages and was a New Scientist Top Ten Book of the Year for 2015. A series of short films based on the book is in production. His new project, The Appearance of Black Lives Matter was published as a free e-book, and is forthcoming as a limited edition print book with artwork by Carl Pope and a poem by Karen Pope, both by NAME Publications, Miami. The second part of the Black Lives Matter project has considered climate change and the Earth System crisis as produced by white supremacy and intersectional with decoloniality. To complete the trilogy, he is now “sounding” spaces of whiteness and terror in Turner, Picasso and Warhol. Mirzoeff is a Professor of Media, Culture and Communication at NYU.
Jackson Polys is a visual artist who seeks to dissolve artificial boundaries between perceptions of traditional Native art forms, practices, and contemporary life, and whose practice reflects inquiry into the limits and viability of desires for indigenous growth. He began carving with his father, Tlingit artist Nathan Jackson, in high school, and has worked as an artist based in Alaska as Stron Softi, with solo exhibitions at the Alaska State Museum and the Anchorage Museum, also engaging with museums seeking replacements for works that were repatriated, before pursuing his undergraduate education in New York. As Stephen Paul Jackson he obtained a BA in Art History and Visual Arts from Columbia University in 2013, and now holds an MFA in Visual Arts from Columbia University (2015). He is recipient of an NACF Mentor Artist Fellowship in 2017, and Advisor to Indigenous New York, the collaborative program initiative co-founded by Mohawk artist Alan Michelson and the Vera List Center for Art and Politics.
Maya Valladares is an artist and educator whose work fuses traditional handwork techniques with social engagement. Situated within an anthropological understanding of textiles as objects that carry embedded information, her work engages with themes of labor, exchange, knowledge transmission, and language. She has worked as a Museum Educator at the Brooklyn Museum and the Metropolitan Museum, and currently works as the Facilities Manager for Fashion and Textiles at the Parson’s Making Center. Maya received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and her MA from Hunter College.
Art in General was founded in 1981 and supports the production of new work by local and international artists primarily through its New Commissions Program and its International Collaborations program. Art in General also produces an annual symposium What Now? on critical and timely issues in artistic and curatorial practice.
General Support of Art in General is provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services; the New York State Council on the Arts with support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; The Cowles Charitable Trust; the Toby D. Lewis Donor Advised Fund of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland; and by individuals. This program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
The New Commissions Program is made possible by the Trust for Mutual Understanding; National Endowment for the Arts; Jerome Foundation; Ruth Ivor Foundation; and the Milton and Sally Avery Foundation. Support has also been provided by: Commissioners’ Circle leaders Elaine Goldman, Richard Massey, Jeffery Larsen and Joseph Bolduc; Commissioners’ Circle supporters John and Andrea Nylund and David Solo; and Commissioners’ Circle members Nader Ansary, Rob Colangelo, Don Erenberg, Roya Khadjavi-Heidari, Mary Lapides, Eric Nylund, Leslie Ruff, Steve Shane, and Diana Wege.