The Next Big Thing? Indigenous Art Now

The Next Big Thing? Indigenous Art Now

Special Event

Past event

Philip Carter Family Auditorium


A talk and conversation with Paul Chaat Smith, curator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. Massive changes have taken place in the past decade about how Americans see American Indians, in pop culture and museums and political discourse. How are indigenous artists responding to these new realities, which include stunning victories and crushing defeats in a time that delivers a relentless barrage of both hope and despair?  Smith will draw on his experiences as an activist, critic, and art curator to make sense of the contemporary landscape of indigenous art in the United States, and the ways it echoes and differs from the work of artists in Aotearoa.

Paul Chaat Smith is an author, essayist, and curator. His books and exhibitions focus on the contemporary landscape of American Indian politics and culture. With Robert Warrior, he is the author of Like a Hurricane: the Indian Movement from Alcatraz to Wounded Knee (New Press, 1996), a standard text in Native studies and American history courses. His second book, Everything You Know about Indians Is Wrong, was published in 2009 by the University of Minnesota Press. Smith joined the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in 2001, where he currently serves as Associate Curator. His exhibitions include performance artist James Luna’s Emendatio at the Venice Biennial, Fritz Scholder: Indian/Not Indian, and Brian Jungen: Strange Comfort. He’s the lead curator for Americans, which opened in Washington in January 2018. Smith is a member of the Comanche Nation. His middle name has no hyphen and rhymes with hot. Like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, he turned pro right after high school and has no college or university degrees.