Kent Monkman (b. 1965) is a Canadian artist of Cree ancestry who often references the work of 19th-century American artists such as George Catlin and Albert Bierstadt to critique the effects of colonialism on Native Americans. In Monkman’s recent series of four video paintings, he explores the theme of First Nations peoples who traveled to Europe as ambassadors for themselves. Oftentimes they were brought over as specimens for human zoos in the 19th century, as was the case in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show and George Catlin’s Gallery of the North American Indian. In the artist’s reimagining of this historical legacy, he constructs a platform for Miss Chief Eagle Testickle (his drag alter ego) to explore this contested history through humor and artistic resolve.
In his panoramic painting Wedding at Sodom (2017), Monkman draws inspiration from European paintings to depict a scene of revelry. Here, he focuses on the allegory of the American frontier to speak about Transgender and gender nonconformity at the forefront of contemporary culture.
Video Crossings is a contemporary video dialogue inspired by historical works of art of American, Southwest and Mexican origin on view in Border Crossings: Mexico and the American Southwest. Curated by Betsy Fahlman, Adjunct Curator of American Art and Vanessa Davidson, Lampe Curator of Latin American Art, this installation represents a cultural conversation between Mexico and the United States where physical demarcations, such as border walls, no longer exist.
Video Crossings was conceived by Gilbert Vicario, The Selig Family Chief Curator as way to continue the spirit of collaboration between museum colleagues but also to activate the historic works with contemporary dialogues that allow younger audiences new entry points of discovery. The selection of artists for Video Crossings is inspired by these incredible objects and activates the gallery space in new and exciting ways. The works of art by the four Video Crossings artists are inspired by different aspects of the historic works on display – culture, landscape, history and weather – and articulated through immersive video installations filled with color, light, and sound.
Video Crossings: Magdalena Fernández
August 4, 2017 – December 31, 2017
Video Crossings: Erick Meyenberg
February 3, 2018 – May 9, 2018
Video Crossings: Mary Lucier
March 2, 2018 – May 27, 2018
Video Crossings: Kent Monkman is made possible through the support of the Consulate General of Canada and the generosity of donors to the Museum's annual fund.
Admission is free for Phoenix Art Museum Members, Military Members and youth aged 5 and under; included with general admission. Not a Member yet? Join here!
This exhibition is offered to the general public for free during voluntary donation, free-access hours from 3–9 pm each Wednesday, from 6–10 pm on the First Friday of each month, and the second weekend of each month from 10am–5pm on Saturday and noon–5 pm on Sunday.
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Exhibitions page and right: Kent Monkman, Wedding at Sodom, 2017. Acrylic on canvas. Courtesy of Peters Projects, Santa Fe, NM.
Left: Kent Monkman, Love, 2014. Acrylic on canvas. Courtesy of Peters Projects, Santa Fe, NM.