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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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American Indian Photos By Edward S. Curtis And Zig Jackson Make A Provocative Mix At Cleveland Museum Of Art
by Steven Litt - The (Cleveland, OH) Plain Dealer
The exhibition
"The American Indian Image: Photographs by Edward S. Curtis and Zig Jackson."
Through Sunday, May 30.
11150 East Blvd., Cleveland.
Admission: Free.
Call 216-421-7340 or
go to

The Cleveland Museum of Art's big new exhibition on the art of American Indians, which opens Sunday, focuses on extraordinary objects from the early 19th to the early 20th centuries.

A companion show, already on view, carries the story of American Indian life forward to the present, through the medium of photography, with two dramatically different messages.

On the one hand, it presents two rooms full of romantic, sentimental, sepia-toned images of American Indians in furs and feathers, famously captured in the early decades of the 20th century by Edward S. Curtis.

Curtis' work is completely undercut by a portfolio of 17 black-and-white photographs from the 1980s and '90s, taken by American Indian photographer Zig Jackson, who grew up on a reservation in North Dakota and now lives in Savannah, Ga.

Jackson depicts pot-bellied chiefs in tribal regalia and tourists taking snapshots of abandoned pueblos. Though raw and blunt, Jackson's work is not without respect. It portrays American Indians today as disadvantaged but hardy survivors who are trying to preserve their heritage in a society that has thrust them aside.

Jackson's work can't be considered the last word on the subject, but it provides a sharp contrast to Curtis' honeyed view of the West, and makes the museum's photographic exploration of American Indian life a quiet little bombshell.

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