In a National Museum of the American Indian first, two "Fritz Scholder: Indian/Not Indian" exhibitions open Nov. 1 at the museum's Washington and New York City locations. The National Mall museum will present a broad overview of Scholder's works, including many of the revolutionary paintings of Native Americans for which the artist is best known. The exhibition at the George Gustav Heye Center in Lower Manhattan will focus on works created during a period in the 1980s when Scholder lived and worked in a nearby loft. The exhibitions remain on view through May 17, 2009, in New York and Aug. 16, 2009, in Washington.
"Fritz Scholder was an enormously important and complex figure in 20th-century American art and culture, yet he has never been the subject of an in-depth, comprehensive study of this magnitude," said Kevin Gover (Pawnee/Comanche), director of the museum. "Given the National Museum of the American Indian's ongoing commitment to contemporary art, it is appropriate that such a well-timed reappraisal begin here."
"Although one-quarter Luiseno (a California mission tribe), Scholder always insisted he was not American Indian any more than he was German or French, yet he became the most successful and highly regarded painter of Native Americans in U.S. history--a fact that raises the question of what 'Indian art' actually is," said Truman Lowe (Ho-Chunk), curator of contemporary art at the museum. Lowe organized the exhibition with associate curator Paul Chaat Smith (Comanche).
You have to admire Scholder for acknowledging each part of his ethnic heritage equally. None of this "I feel like a full-blooded Indian even though I'm only a fraction Indian by blood."