Aperture Magazine

The magazine of photography and ideas

How Can Native Artists Challenge the Story of North America Today?

Announcing Aperture magazine's fall 2020 issue and programing around Native artists.

 - September 9, 2020
Issue 240 cover

Martine Gutierrez, Neo-Indio, Trade in Your Quiché Skirts, 2018, from the series Indigenous Woman
Courtesy the artist and RYAN LEE Gallery, New York

As guest editor of Aperture’s fall 2020 issue, “Native America,” the artist Wendy Red Star aimed to create the publication she wished she’d had to read when setting out to become an artist. “I was thinking about young Native artists, and what would be inspirational and important for them as a road map,” she says. “The people included here have all played an important part in forging pathways, in opening up space in the art world for new ways of seeing and thinking.”

That map spans a diverse array of intergenerational image-making, counting as lodestars the meditative assemblages of Kimowan Metchewais and installation works of Alan Michelson, the stylish self-portraits of Martine Gutierrez, and the speculative mythologies of Karen Miranda Rivadeneira and Guadalupe Maravilla. “Native America” also features essays by distinguished writers and curators, including strikingly personal reflections from acclaimed poets Tommy Pico and Natalie Diaz.

With additional essential contributions from Rebecca Belmore and Julian Brave NoiseCat, as well as a portfolio from Red Star, “Native America” looks into the historic, often fraught relationship between photography and Native representation, while also offering new perspectives by emerging artists who reimagine what it means to be a citizen in North America today.

Join us for a series of free virtual public programs with photographers, historians, and writers that accompany the release of “Native America.”

Inside the “Native America” Issue with Wendy Red Star and Natalie Diaz

Thursday, September 17 at 7:00 p.m., on Zoom

Guest editor Wendy Red Star and Poet Natalie Diaz will look inside the “Native America” issue, which considers the wide-ranging work of photographers and lens-based artists who pose challenging questions about land rights, identity and heritage, and histories of colonialism. Red Star and Diaz will delve into the various topics, artists, and takeaways in the issue and discuss their own relationships to its contents.

On the Art of Kimowan Metchewais

Thursday, September 24 at 7:00 p.m., on Zoom

Cree artist Kimowan Metchewais’s multidisciplinary approach rearticulates colonial memory and explores the ground on which contemporary Native art and communities might stand. This panel brings together writer and art historian Christopher Green, filmmaker Christina Wegs, and artist Will Wilson, all of who will discuss Metchewais’s life and continuing influence on the art world.

Martine Gutierrez and Nadiah Rivera Fellah on Indigenous Woman

Thursday, October 1 at 7:00 p.m., on Zoom

For the 2018 project Indigenous Woman, Martine Gutierrez played the roles of photographer, stylist, creative director, editor in chief, and featured model to create a 124-page art publication. Throughout its pages, Gutierrez transforms herself into a revolving roster of identities—in some spreads, wearing go-go boots; and in others, appearing in Indigenous textiles belonging to her Mayan grandmother. In this discussion, Gutierrez and curator Nadiah Rivera Fellah will take an in-depth look at the project and navigating of contemporary Indigeneity.

This panel is presented in partnership with Parsons School of Design at The New School

Aperture Conversations: Wendy Red Star at Photoville

Saturday, October 3 at 2:00 p.m., online via Photoville

Join Wendy Red Star for an artist talk about her 2017 project Um-basax-bilua (Where They Make the Noise) 1904–2016, a celebration of cultural perseverance, colonial resistance, and ingenuity. A visual record of found and personal photographs and cultural memorabilia, Red Star’s annotated timeline, on view at Photoville 2020, summarizes the century-long history of the Crow Fair, and examines the cultural shift from colonial forced assimilation to cultural reclamation.

History Is Present: A Conversation with Alan Michelson and Chrissie Iles

Thursday, October 8 at 7:00 p.m., on Zoom

For more than thirty years, New York–based artist Alan Michelson has produced evocative, influential works that excavate colonial histories of invasion and eviction. A Mohawk member of the Six Nations of the Grand River, Michelson uses photography, painting, video, and installation to create dynamic spaces of visual and auditory immersion. In this discussion, Michelson sits down with Chrissie Iles—who cocurated his 2019 exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art—to discuss his career and the power of contemporary Indigenous art.

Read more from Aperture, issue 240, “Native America,” or subscribe to Aperture and never miss an issue.

Through September 17, as part of the <em>Aperture</em> Magazine Collectors’ Edition, collect a signed print by Wendy Red Star for $200—with proceeds going to benefit Crow’s Shadow Institute for the Arts and Aperture.