This fall in Bend, the printmaking and education space Atelier 6000 is showing photographs by Edward Curtis. At the turn of the 20th century, Curtis vowed to record, with his camera, the way Indian people lived.
"It was his mission to capture what he called 'the vanishing race,' " says visual artist Wendy Red Star. She told us she finds that interesting, being herself "a Crow Indian and not vanished."
Red Star grew up as part of the Apsaalooke Nation, not far from Billings Montana. Her own practice is by turns witty and inquisitive. She thinks about how Indians look at themselves and are constantly, relentlessly observed by others.
For the latest installment of our occasional series, “What Are You Looking At,” Red Star went to see Atelier 6000’s exhibition “Edward Curtis, Shadow Catcher."
Edward Curtis started out more than a century ago as a commercial photographer, taking pictures of Native people in hopes of selling the prints — which he did, for some years, with great success out of his Seattle studio. But his life became consumed for nearly three decades photographing Indians for a comprehensive set of scholarly books, "The North American Indian."
Red Star called for more context in both Curtis' images, and the exhibition.
Take a listen to the review, and check out the links below for info about related events.
- The show at Atelier 6000.
- Two screenings of Anne Peacemaker's documentary Coming To Light, about Edward Curtis.
- The High Desert Museum exhibits volumes of "The North American Indian".
- Curtis biographer Timothy Egan at Author! Author! for the Deschutes County Library.
- In February, Wendy Red Star's work will be featured in the Portland Art Museum's show of contemporary Native photographers in dialogue with the works of Edward Curtis.