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Urban Shaman: Kent Monkman's "Dance to Michief" and Laura Ortman's "Ortwoman Wild Waves"

  • Vital Spaces 220 Otero Street Santa Fe, NM, 87501 United States (map)

Move over J.Lo and Cher! Miss Chief Eagle Testickle has a new sexy video of her club track: Dance to Miss Chief - a playful critique of German fascination with North American “Indians” that is guaranteed to make you want to get up and shake your booty! This remix of contemporary and vintage footage celebrates Miss Chief’s on-screen romance with leading man, Winnetou, fictitious “Indian” from Karl May’s German Westerns.

Kent Monkman, born in Canada in 1965, is a Cree artist who is widely known for his provocative interventions into Western European and American art history. He explores themes of colonization, sexuality, loss, and resilience—the complexities of historic and contemporary Indigenous experiences—across a variety of mediums, including painting, film/video, performance, and installation. Monkman’s gender-fluid alter ego Miss Chief Eagle Testickle often appears in his work as a time-traveling, shape-shifting, supernatural being who reverses the colonial gaze to challenge received notions of history and Indigenous peoples.

The opening reception will be accompanied by a performance by Laura Ortman. “Ortman’s music is known for compositions that alternate lyrical intimacy with layered improvisation, often experimenting with four-track tapes and remixing her own audio catalogue in an evolving dialogue with herself. “I try and create music for your most solo moments,” she says…Her practice does have a strong connection to visual art, going back to before she moved to New York in 1997. “I used to try to create painting and installation work about being isolated, of being singular,” she says. “Then I started making my own music for the installations, to fill them up. Then, at last, I decided that the sound was what was really moving me.” She still describes what she does as “sculpting sound”…”- Artnews, Ben Davis, May 23, 2019.

A soloist and vibrant collaborator, Laura Ortman (White Mountain Apache) works across recorded albums, live performances, and filmic and artistic soundtracks, and has collaborated with artists such as Tony Conrad, Jock Soto, Raven Chacon, Nanobah Becker, Okkyung Lee, Martin Bisi, Caroline Monnet, Michelle Latimer, Martha Colburn, and Loren Connors. An inquisitive and exquisite violinist, Ortman is versed in Apache violin, piano, electric guitar, keyboards, and pedal steel guitar, often sings through a megaphone, and is a producer of capacious field recordings. She has performed at The Whitney Museum of American Art and The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal, and the Centre Pompidou, Paris, among countless established and DIY venues in the US, Canada, and Europe. In 2008 Ortman founded the Coast Orchestra, an all-Native American orchestral ensemble that performed a live soundtrack to Edward Curtis’s film In the Land of the Head Hunters (1914), the first silent feature film to star an all-Native American cast. Ortman is the recipient of the 2017 Jerome Foundation Fellowship, the 2016 Art Matters Grant, the 2016 Native Arts and Culture Foundation Fellowship, the 2015 IAIA’s Museum of Contemporary Native Arts Social Engagement Residency and the 2014-15 Rauschenberg Residency. She is also a participating artist in the 2019 Whitney Biennial. Ortman lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Opening Reception: Wednesday, August 14th 6pm
Performance: Wednesday, August 14th 6:30pm
Closing: September 28