June 18, 2008

Monkman's central figure

Mischief Maker:  Kent Monkman Revisits HistoryMiss Chief Eagle Testickle--whose name plays on both “mischief” and “egotistical”--is a towering, raven-haired transvestite in four-inch heels. (“Her look draws heavily on Cher,” the artist admits.) Monkman has developed this persona in performance, video and photographic works as well as in his paintings.

Monkman anchors the show with a totemic image of Miss Chief. As she strides in and out of Monkman’s work, Miss Chief’s sultry subtexts puncture the lofty narratives of art history, particularly those of the Canadian Paul Kane (1810-1871) and the American George Catlin (1796-1872), who travelled the continent in the 1830s and ’40s as artist-ethnographers.
Comment:  Miss Chief is a mash-up of at least two stereotypes: the big chief and the Indian princess.

Below:  Miss Chief Eagle Testickle and "her" inspiration.

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