Don’t Miss This Long-Overdue Exhibit of Native Painter Oscar Howe

03/07/2022 in
Don’t Miss This Long-Overdue Exhibit of Native Painter Oscar Howe

The work of one of the 20th century’s “most innovative painters” that changed the landscape for Native American artists is coming to the National Museum of the American Indian in Lower Manhattan. 

Starting March 11, the Smithsonian outpost at 1 Bowling Green will host the work of Oscar Howe, an artist who dedicated his career to preserving and expressing his Yanktonai Dakota culture. His work, according to the Smithsonian, “proved that art could be simultaneously modern and embedded in customary Očhéthi Šakówiŋ (Sioux) culture and aesthetics — to him there was no contradiction.”

“We are finally at a point in the 21st century where we can recognize the impact and complexity of Oscar Howe’s incredible work as both Native American and modern American art,” curator Kathleen Ash-Milby said. “This project is a long overdue recognition of his contribution to the field that we hope will establish Howe’s place as a 20th-century modernist.

The exhibit, ”Dakota Modern: The Art of Oscar Howe,” will show how the artist challenged the art world’s existing images and definitions of Native American art, and catalyzed a movement among other Native artists to express individuality. Most of Howe’s career happened between the 1930s and 1960s. He died in 1983, but his legacy was credited with inspiring generations of Native artists to take pride in their heritage and in their work. 

“Dakota Modern: The Art of Oscar Howe” runs March 11 through September 11. 

Tags: National Museum of the American Indian, oscar howe

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