The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in New York presents Dakota Modern: The Art of Oscar Howe, a major retrospective of the Yanktonai Dakota artist’s work. Oscar Howe (1915–1983) challenged stereotypes and created pathways for Native painters, committing his artistic career to the preservation, relevance, and ongoing expression of his culture. He proved that art could be simultaneously modern and embedded in customary Očhéthi Šakówiŋ (Sioux) culture and aesthetics — to him, there was no contradiction. His legacy of innovation and advocacy continues to inspire generations of Native artists to take pride in their heritage and resist stereotypes.
The exhibition was developed in collaboration with the Portland Art Museum and curated by Kathleen Ash-Milby (Navajo), PAM’s curator of Native American art.
“We are finally at a point in the 21st century where we can recognize the impact and complexity of Oscar Howe’s incredible work as both Native American and modern American art,” Ash-Milby said. “This project is a long-overdue recognition of his contribution to the field that we hope will establish Howe’s place as a 20th-century modernist.”
Major support for Dakota Modern has been provided by the Henry Luce Foundation. Generous support is provided by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Additional support is provided by the Wyeth Foundation for American Art.
An accompanying catalogue published by the National Museum of the American Indian is available at the museum’s store in New York City.
The exhibition will be on view through September 11, 2022. After it closes in New York, it will be on view at the Portland Art Museum (PAM) in Portland, Oregon, November 5, 2022–May 14, 2023, and the South Dakota Art Museum at South Dakota State University in Brookings, June 10, 2023–September 17, 2023.
For more information, visit americanindian.si.edu.