At the Metropolitan Museum, Wendy Red Star Pokes at Indian Clichés

THE DAILY PIC: This Indian rejects her "natural" connection to nature.


THE DAILY PIC: Despite all the classic treasures in “The Plains Indians: Artists of Earth and Sky”, at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, today’s Pic may be the most important piece in the show. It’s from a four-image series by the artist Wendy Red Star, a Crow Indian, and it’s a vital corrective for some of the boilerplate – worthy, well-meaning, often condescending – that dances around the more ancient objects on view.

Posing amid blow-up deer, cut-out coyotes and wallpaper mountains, Red Star uses her series to go after the standard blather about Native American’s inevitable “oneness” with nature. (On that front, the show’s subtitle is cringe-inducing, and I hope would fail any student out of a modern anthropology class.)

I wonder if whites haven’t sometimes used the supposed links between Indians and the wilderness as an excuse for keeping them out in the cold. What could bring you closer to the land and stars than sleeping in a house without foundations, and with holes in the roof?

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