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Objects in Motion: Wendy Red Star’s Accession Series

From May 28, 2022 to September 5, 2022

Location: Spotlight Gallery (Floor 1M)

Items once draped on horses, cars, or the arms and bodies of the Apsáalooke people are typically presented as static and sequestered under museum glass. Wendy Red Star reanimates these objects by visually contextualizing them within their original purpose.

“Sweat stains from the horses and grass stains from playful children offer insights into the utilitarian beauty of objects meant to be in motion. It demonstrates the strong cultural connection that the Crow community maintains through the generations.” -Wendy Red Star

Accession by Red Star evolved out of her Native Artist-in-Residence fellowship at the Denver Art Museum from 2016-2017. While in residence, Red Star used object card catalogues painted by Works Progress Administration artists that detailed the museum’s holdings of Native objects. Clothing and personal regalia objects were hand painted on small catalog cards with a written description on the reverse. The objects are beautifully rendered in watercolor by anonymous artists, who were often out of work commercial illustrators assigned to the Museums Extensions Projects during the 1930s-1970s.

I felt a connection with the artists who created the work, and I was jealous of the time they got to spend with my ancestors’ materials… I am amazed by the similarities in the coupling of a photograph of a martingale on my daughter’s parade horse with a WPA artist’s brilliantly-crafted drawing of a beaded geometric martingale from the 1930s. -Wendy Red Star

The resulting series is a vibrant meeting of past and present. It honors the artistry of the original makers who crafted the objects, as well as the anonymous artists who catalogued them. The Apsaalooke pieces are brought back to life, confirming their place in living history and the powerful legacy of her own Nation within the larger context of contemporary American art.

Red Star works across disciplines to explore the intersections of Native American ideologies and colonial structures, both historically and in contemporary society. Raised on the Apsáalooke (Crow) reservation in Montana, Red Star’s work is informed both by her cultural heritage and her engagement with many forms of creative expression, including photography, sculpture, video, fiber arts, and performance. She is an avid researcher of historic archives and oral traditions who seeks to incorporate and recast her research with new and unexpected perspectives. Intergenerational collaborative work is integral to Red Star’s practice, along with creating a forum for the expression of Native women’s voices in contemporary art.

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About the Artist

Wendy Red Star

Wendy Red Star (b.1981, Billings, MT) lives and works in Portland, OR. Red Star has exhibited in the United States and abroad at venues including the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY), Brooklyn Museum (Brooklyn, NY), both of which have her works in their permanent collections; Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain (Paris, France), Domaine de Kerguéhennec (Bignan, France), Portland Art Museum (Portland, OR), Hood Art Museum (Hanover, NH), St. Louis Art Museum (St. Louis, MO), Minneapolis Institute of Art (Minneapolis, MN), the Frost Art Museum (Miami, FL), among others.

Red Star holds a BFA from Montana State University, Bozeman, and an MFA in sculpture from University of California, Los Angeles.  She is represented by Sargent’s Daughters.

Special Thanks

This exhibition is made possible in part by Alan and Lynnette Eusden, the Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes, Inc. and by Rochelle Media Works.