First American Art Magazine No. 22, Spring 2019 - Page 83

REVIEWS above Maureen Gruben (Inuvialuk), Message, 2017, repurposed polar bear guard hairs, cotton thread, black interface, 180 × 24 in. perspectives of hunters, artists, and scientists. The programs have included presentations by artists like Alvin Amason, Sylvester Ayek (Iñupiaq), Lydia and Jerome Apatiki (both Sivuqaghhmii), Sonya Kelliher-Combs (Iñupiaq-Athabascan), and Maureen Gruben. While Lydai Apatiki was at the museum, she led a polar bear–hide sewing workshop that was open to Alaska Native participants. According to the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, Alaska Native people are permitted to harvest marine mammals for subsistence use and the byproducts can be used in the production of art. Short films are presented in nearly every gallery of this exhibition. Most are silent documentaries, but a short film by Anna Hoover (Unangax ̂ ) explores the history of the walrus tusk motif used on Yup’ik parkas, and a humorous fictional film by Luke Randall shares a surrealistic vision of a walrus-headed man and his longing for the sea. Few people who live outside the Arctic will have an opportunity to see a polar bear or walrus in the wild, but if you visit this exhibition at the Anchorage Museum you may be inspired to make a trip to the Arctic Circle yourself to see these fascinating animals in their natural habitat. Aiviq and Nanuq: Sea Horse and Sea Bear of the Arctic will remain on display through May 12, 2019. —Nadia Jackinsky, PhD KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI Nathan Young: Night Music of the Southern Plains American Indian KCAI Crossroads Gallery A FANTASTIC SHOW that is deceptively simple, Night Music of the Southern Plains American Indian unravels in layers upon conceptual layers, inter- weaving and fusing disparate cultures, perspectives, materials, and media. The connecting force between it all is the personal and familial story of the artist. Nathan Young (Delaware-Kiowa- Pawnee) conveys universal truths but only to those who actively invest themselves in the work. The show is a reminder that the observer has an equally important role to play in the success or effectiveness of the work. Realizations occur in the moment as well as long after leaving the gallery. The longer I reflect on Young’s work, the deeper its significance is to me. Our imaginations are massaged through this art and music, our biases and precon- ceptions gently coaxed to the forefront of our minds. A reoccurring quality through Nathan Young’s sound and visual art is the intention of challenging conven- tional thought by instigating dialogue that may not occur otherwise. He was a founding member of the Indigenous arts collective Postcommodity, which has had a significant impact on the art world, helping to open platforms for other conceptual and sociopolitically expressive Indigenous artists. He is also an elected member of the Delaware Indian Tribe’s council. His work illustrates his academic education and noise culture, as well as his personal and familial story. This exhibition, on view from November 6 to December 8, 2018, included an opening performance by the Southern Thunder Singers and a closing performance by Nathan Young with Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) professor Dwight Frizzell and his students on a truck rigged with a series of microphones and a public address system. The instal- lation was complex and combined diverse materials, sources, cultures, and disciplines including drywall, projection, Southern Plains drumming culture, Native American Church (a peyote religion), and live electro-acoustic improvisations on an amplified pickup truck. The installation created interesting, intellectual feedback loops that recontextualize living cultures into the gallery world and imaginary connections in an intimate setting. The first sensation upon entering the space was the recording of the Southern Thunder Singers performance from the opening night. The gallery opened into an uncluttered, spacious room that allowed the sound to reverberate freely. In the middle of the room was parked a SPRING 2019 | 81