Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Cree Artist Kent Monkman Takes Us on a Tour of the Met to Show How Not to Depict Indigenous People

By Sarah Cascone
Kent Monkman, Welcoming the Newcomers (2019). Photo by Anna Marie Kellen, courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
When visitors enter the Great Hall of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art this month, they will be greeted with something unusual: a pair of monumental history paintings by Cree artist Kent Monkman. The massive canvases—almost 11 feet by 22 feet—seek to do nothing less than turn conventional Western art history on its head. The exhibition, titled “mistikosiwak (Wooden Boat People),” comprises two massive paintings, Welcoming the Newcomers and Resurgence of the People. Both paintings star Monkman’s gender-fluid alter ego, Miss Chief Eagle Testickle, a representation of indigenous Two Spirit traditions. [More]
Miss Chief Eagle Testickle at the Met
Thomas Crawford, Mexican Girl Dying (1846–48) and the figure inspired by the sculpture in Kent Monkman’s Welcoming the Newcomers (2019). Photo courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.