PETER SCHJELDAHL REVIEWS 'THE PLAINS INDIANS: ARTISTS OF EARTH AND SKY'
Resident New Yorker art critic Peter Schjeldahl has written a stunning review on The Plains Indians: Artists of Earth and Sky exhibition now on at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which includes Dana Claxton's Rattle 4-channel video installation.
An excerpt: "Notice that almost nothing on view bespeaks a settled existence or the character of a particular location. The makers of the things subsisted on the move. Portability ruled. Plains art is a world apart from the pottery of Southwestern tribes or the totems of the Northwest. (With just two inventively carved wooden “feast bowls,” the show suggests a relative indifference on the part of Plains tribes to rituals of cooking and eating.) The art was preoccupied with religious observation and war—fighting that was often governed by the performance of “counting coup.” A Plains warrior won prestige by physically touching an enemy—fatally or not—and getting away. For each coup, he might be awarded, quite literally, a feather in his cap. The European style of conflict—organized slaughter—tended to confuse as well as to scandalize the native Plains peoples, who effectively mastered it only under Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, at the Little Bighorn, in 1876, by which time it was too late to make a strategic difference."