Exhibition Review

Double Exposure: Edward S. Curtis, Marianne Nicolson, Tracy Rector, Will Wilson Seattle Art Museum 14 June – 9 September 2018

INTRO

The Seattle Art Museum’s special summer exhibition, Double Exposure: Edward S. Curtis, Marianne Nicolson, Tracy Rector, Will Wilson, takes a critical look at the photographic legacy of Edward S. Curtis from a 21st-century perspective. The exhibition marks the 150th anniversary of Curtis’s birth in his hometown of Seattle, Washington, where he began his career as a landscape and portrait photographer. Curtis is best known for his monumental publication, The North American Indian (1907-1930), which is a set of twenty volumes and portfolios that documented what he saw as the vanishing lives of Native North Americans. This major exhibition features 150 works by Curtis in juxtaposition with the work of three contemporary Indigenous artists – Marianne Nicolson (Dzawada̱’enux̱w First Nation), Tracy Rector (Choctaw/Seminole) and Will Wilson (Diné). As the title suggests, the exhibition intends to re-expose Curtis’s body of work by incorporating Indigenous art, voices and perspectives to promote an alternative narrative to that of a vanishing race. Through immersive storytelling, interactive technologies and engaging installations, Double Exposure presents a narrative of Indigenous survival, resilience and relevance.

Link to article: ARTicular Journal of Art History
Will Wilson, K’ómoks Imperial Stormtrooper (Andy Everson), Citizen of the K’ómoks First Nation, 2017

MA Research Paper

Exhibiting a Sense of Place in Double Exposure: Edward S. Curtis and the Indigenous Landscape of the Northwest Coast

ABSTRACT

Seattle photographer Edward S. Curtis produced a beautiful yet controversial body of work at the turn of the 20th century. His monumental publication The North American Indian (1907-30) framed Indigenous peoples within an idealized, romantic and static past where their voices and identities were ultimately silenced and erased. However, a trend in museum exhibitions has emerged in the 21st century to redress the misrepresentation of Indigenous peoples as a “vanishing race.” [1] This paper takes a critical look at one of these exhibitions at the Seattle Art Museum titled Double Exposure: Edward S. Curtis, Marianne Nicolson, Tracy Rector, Will Wilson (2018). The exhibition reframes Curtis’s work and legacy through its juxtaposition with contemporary Indigenous art, voices and perspectives to counter colonial narratives of erasure with one of survival, resilience and relevance. From first-hand experience, I will guide you through Double Exposure, highlighting the exhibition’s curation, design, artworks and decolonizing strategies to which I argue have been influenced by the concept of place – particularly the historically layered and diverse Indigenous landscape of the Northwest Coast.

[1] Despite the survival, resilience, and presence of Indigenous peoples, it remains a popular belief among the general public that Indigenous peoples vanished at the turn of the 20th century.

Installation view of Gallery 1 featuring Marianne Nicolson’s installation Ḱanḱagawi (The Seam of Heaven), 2018

BA Honours Paper

Marketing Art in Eighteenth-Century England: The Emergence of the Professional Art Auctioneer

ABSTRACT

This paper explores the art auctions in eighteenth-century England. By providing an overview of the establishment of specialized art auctions, and the emergence of the professional art auctioneer we can set the stage for an in depth critical study of the auctioneers way of business. In particular this paper examines the marketing strategies of the professional art auctioneers who emerged at the beginning of the eighteenth century in London.

Focusing on the pioneer Christopher Cock and his successor Abraham Langford, we can piece together the fragmented past of these auctioneers through wills, letters, newspaper advertisements and auction catalogues to reveal their means of business in the art market. These men played an important role in the foundations of our contemporary art market and the works that have shaped our art historical canon. By analysing the textuality and materiality of the newspaper advertisements and auction catalogues we can examine the language, structure and rhetoric used to promote their professional art business and give value to the works and collections they sold. Yet, how did these auctioneers come into business, why did they specialize in selling art and how did they go about promoting art auctions to their upper class audience? I will address these questions throughout my paper.

I argue that Christopher Cock and Abraham Langford were leading auctioneers at the forefront of the formation of new art marketing strategies. By engaging with primary sources that were vital tools in their promotional operations, I aim to bring awareness to these important protagonists and their complex activities. The role of the art auctioneer has long been left in the shadows of art historical research, but here we shed new light upon these important figures.

Title Page, Auction Catalogue of Jonathan Richardson by Christopher Cock, 1746
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