Edward S. Curtis & "The Vanishing Race": Ethnography, Photography, and Absence in The North American Indian
On exhibit until 12.01.13- Honnold 2nd floor
Curated by Ken Gonzales-Day,
Professor of Art and Humanities, Chair, Art Department, Scripps College
When Edward Sheriff Curtis (1868-1952) began The North American Indian he was one of the most successful portrait photographers in Seattle. Between 1895 and 1930, Curtis took over 40,000 photographs of Native Americans, made over 10,000 audio recordings of their songs and speech, created a motion picture with an all-native cast, and authored the twenty-volume publication The North American Indian. According to the Smithsonian Institution, Curtis' project "represented an attempt to capture images of American Indians as they lived before contact with Anglo cultures." Curtis' project may be seen as both a response to the historical violence against Native Americans, and as representational violence in its furtherance of the myth of the "vanishing race."
Since the 1970s, interest in Curtis has re-emerged and his images have been widely exhibited and circulated. They have also been critically reconsidered by scholars and Native communities not only for what they depict, but also for what is missing, absent, or untrue. The exhibition at The Claremont Colleges Library draws from Special Collections, which holds one of only 300 known complete sets of The North American Indian.
The exhibition will provide viewers an opportunity to experience first-hand nearly one hundred images culled from the twenty portfolios of The North American Indian. Accompanying texts serve to reframe of a number of the debates which have surrounded the project from its beginning over a century ago.
Professor Jacqueline Wernimont, Scripps College
Friday, November 22nd - Honnold 2nd floor
Starts at noon- Pizza & drinks will be served
In conjunction with an exhibition of Edward S. Curtis prints currently on display in the library, Professor Wernimont will discuss and demonstrate "Performing Archive: Edward S. Curtis & 'The Vanishing Race'". "Performing Archive" is a Mellon-funded Digital Humanities Project, produced using the Scalar platform. In addition to aggregating nearly 2,500 items related to Curtis and his ethnographic and photographic work with western American and Canadian tribes, the "archive" also brings together a number of new scholarly works designed to facilitate teaching with Curtis' work.