Thursday, October 14, 2021
Weathervanes are one of many American art forms that have long employed problematic stereotypes and romanticized symbolism in representations of Indigenous figures by non-Native artists. In our current exhibition "American Weathervanes: The Art of the Winds," Joseph Zordan, consulting scholar and enrolled member of the Bad River Ojibwe, invites us to contend with these objects and the legacies of colonialism they represent, writing “Inevitably, such images tell us more about the people who made them than those they are said to represent.”
This conversation brings together Joseph Zordan, Joe Baker, co-founder and Executive Director of the Lenape Center, and Nez Perce art historian Rachel Allen to consider these objects within broader histories of American and Native American art, and discuss the continuous work of countering historical tropes with contemporary scholarship, image-making, and creative expression. Art historian Ramey Mize moderates.
Joseph Zordan is a Ph.D. Student in the History of Art & Architecture at Harvard University. He is an enrolled member of the Bad River Ojibwe. His work seeks to examine the construction of the Settler/Indigenous political dichotomy in North America across time.
Joe Baker is a Native Arts leader and activist. As Executive Director of the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center, he supports a multidisciplinary community of arts practitioners to create authentic stories challenging museum visitors' expectations while illuminating the complexity of the human spirit.
A member of the Nez Perce Tribe, Rachel Allen is a Ph.D. student and Fellow in the Mellon Curatorial Program in the Art History Department at the University of Delaware, interested in cross-cultural understandings of air, atmosphere, and sky in Native and American Art.
Ramey Mize is both the Arthur and Lois Stainman Research Assistant in the American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and a Ph.D. candidate in Art History at the University of Pennsylvania, where she specializes in nineteenth-century U.S., Latin American, and Native American art.