We the People
November 12 – December 23, 1987

Opening Reception
Thursday, November 12, 6-8pm

We the People is an exhibition of work by contemporary Native American artists which includes paintings, sculpture, ceramics, and installation by Pena Bonita, Jimmie Durham, Harry Fonseca, Marsha Gomez, Ton Huff, G. Peter Jemison, Jean LaMarr, Alan Michelson, Joe Nevaquaya, Jolene Rickard, Susana Santos, Kay WalkingStick, and Richard Ray (Whitman). The exhibition will be accompanied by a recording of “Flute Songs” by John Rainer, Jr. We the People also includes a video program presenting the work of Arlene Bowman, Victor Masayesva, Chris Spotted Eagle, Asiba Tupahache, the Ute Indian Tribe Audio-Visual, and Gerald Vizenor.

We the People was organized by Native American artist Jimmie Durham and art critic Jean Fisher. The Video Program was organized by Emelia Seubert, Assistant Curator, Film and Video Center, Museum of the American Indian, and Artists Space Film/Video Curator Dan Walworth.

The exhibition will be accompanied by an illustrated catalogue with essays by Jimmie Durham, Jean Fisher, Emelia Seubert and Native American writer Paul Smith.

Of the show Fisher writes: “The title, We the People, was chosen as a gentle but ironic reminder that this phrase, and the sociopolitical organization of the Northeaster peoples, were appropriated by the United States Constitution as the foundation of American democracy. The exhibition involves the problems of presenting Native American art in a social climate that has little competence to see beyond its field of vision. The aim of the is exhibition is not to provide white audiences with revelations about who the people ‘really’ are, but to “address how white culture perceives, and is perceived by, ‘Indians’. And as we look at them looking at us looking at them we night be just a little uncomfortable that our gaze, so long concealed behind a dissembling rhetoric or a monocular lens, is capable of being turned back on us.”

Press Release

Rick Weise and Gerald Vizenor, Harold of Orange, 1983