HD video, 31 minutes
Stereo sound track with original music by Laura Ortman
A video shot at night from a boat on the Hudson River depicting, in the projected beam of the marine searchlight, passage upriver from Hook Mountain to Haverstraw Bay. It retraces part of Henry Hudson’s 1609 voyage in which his crew had a bloody encounter with the local natives. The searchlight projection references Hudson River Night Line boats which shone spotlights onto shoreline monuments for touring passengers. Embedded also are allusions to Hudson River School painting. The work temporally encapsulates, in its passage from wooden shoreline to modern marina—via industrial quarry, luxury housing, village, and power plant—problematic and enduring aspects of local as well as national history.Click Here to View Excerpt
3 HD videos, gilded frames
Gloom of the Approaching Night: Fort York, Toronto, 31 minutes
Dying Day Drawing to Its End: Stelco, Hamilton Bay, 31 minutes
Glorious Light of the Setting Sun: Wind Farm, Port Burwell, 31 minutes
An installation of three, real-time video sunset “paintings” shot with a stationary camera at three sites in Ontario, presented on framed monitors on walls designed to evoke a romantic landscape museum installation. Each site represents a different environmental era—past, present, and future—in the colonization and development of the area, and the titles of the work were extracted from the writings of the photographer Edward S. Curtis.Click Here to View Excerpt of Fort York
Click Here to View Excerpt of Stelco
Click Here to View Excerpt of Wind Farm
Four-channel video with sound
108 × 576 inches
A monumental, panoramic video installation of the two banks of the Grand River, which divides Six Nations Reserve from non-native townships in Ontario. The design is a synthesis of two sources: moving panoramas and the Two Row, an historic Iroquois wampum belt. Woven of purple and white shell beads, the belt signified—through two purple rows alternating with three white rows—an early treaty of respectful coexistence between the Natives and Europeans. The rows symbolized the parallel paths of an Iroquois canoe and a European ship, and their respective laws and customs, which were to remain parallel and inviolate. A sound track combining a Canadian cruise boat captain’s official narrative on the river with Native elder narratives complete the work.Click Here to View Excerpt
Video, gilded frame
56 × 71 inches
An installation consisting of video projected onto a gilt-framed “canvas” of the Hudson River at Indian Point in Buchanan, New York, site of the Indian Point Nuclear Plant. Shot from a stationary camera, the video records a sunset on the river in real time. The nuclear reactors in the background sound a disquieting note in an otherwise tranquil, picturesque scene invoking Hudson River School painting.Click Here to View Excerpt
Video (19:24 minutes)
Turkey feathers, monofilament, steel
Original sound track by Michael J. Schumacher
132 × 168 × 12 inches
Based on a popular, pre-cinematic entertainment—painted moving panoramas—this video installation pans continuously along the 3.5-mile shoreline of urban Newtown Creek, the estuary dividing Brooklyn and Queens. It revisits an area known as “Mespat” (“bad water place”) to the native Lenape, who were displaced from there by European colonists in 1642. Polluted by raw sewage and industry from the mid-19th century, the creek was also the site of a 17-million gallon oil spill in the 1950’s.Click Here to View Excerpt
8 × 586 × 2.5 inches
An artwork in the form of a panoramic, room-spanning frieze installed in the richly ornamented Glyndor House at Wave Hill for an exhibition commemorating the Hudson River Quadricentennial. In place of the usual Old World classical themes it substitutes a local Native American iconography of beaver skulls, corn, squash, and oysters—whole, devoured, or damaged.
glass, acrylic, wood
Oval: 16.5 × 18.5 × 4 inches
Octagonal: 17.5 × 21.5 × 4 inches
Square: 16.5 × 18.5 × 4 inches
Circular: 17.5 × 17.5 × 4 inches
A four-part outdoor installation based on the Claude glass, an 18th-century device for viewing picturesque landscape which required the user to turn his back on the view. The work consists of four framed black convex mirrors installed vertically at eye level on trees at four different wooded sites at The Fields Sculpture Park in Ghent, New York. Each mirror’s distinctive shape—oval, circle, rectangle, octagon—frames a different view.
Duratrans, maple light boxes
An installation housing an illuminated photographic panorama of the Grand River at Six Nations Reserve in Ontario, featuring land that was the artist’s great-grandfather’s farm. The work synthesizes the panorama and native wampum belts, whose designs were symbolic and constitute an indigenous form of abstraction. BecomeOne is based on the traditional Hiawatha Wampum Belt signifying Iroquois unity, symbolizing the original confederation of five nations—Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca—and their respective locations in what is now upper New York State.
Corn husk, string, light fixtures, sound
An installation with over 200 figures made by the artist based on traditional Iroquois cornhusk dolls. The sound consists of a recording of a Haudenosaunee faithkeeper reciting the Ganohonyohk (Thanksgiving Address) in the Cayuga language.
A GSA-commissioned public artwork for the new U.S. Port of Entry in Massena, NY, consisting of panoramic views of the four St. Lawrence River shorelines and three entities—Canada, Akwesasne Mohawk Territory, and the U.S.—at the complex border. The work bridges two sources: panoramic river tourist guides; and the Two Row Wampum, a purple and white beaded belt signifying an early treaty of respectful coexistence between the Iroquois and Europeans. The belt continues to function as a meaningful symbol to contemporary Akwesasne, whose reserve straddles the border.
Wax, muslin, charcoal
Overall size: 144 × 144 × 9 inches
For this installation, the artist took rubbings onto muslin from structures—parks, buildings, sidewalks—on the sites of more than a dozen former burial grounds in Manhattan lost to development. The waxed muslin sacks refer to colonial-era cerecloth from which burial shrouds were made.
Site-specific installation at Snug Harbor Cultural Center
Photo acetates, gels, sound, paper
Overall dimensions: 865 × 108 w × 120 inches
An installation juxtaposing two photomurals installed in windows on opposite sides of a long passage. The first image is a group of residents of Sailor’s Snug Harbor, the historic Staten Island sailor’s home, photographed in the same corridor in 1907. The second image is a group of homeless people living in Tompkins Square Park in 1990. The photomurals and blue gels echo the historic nautical paintings on glass and cobalt glass constellation windows in the adjacent Main Hall (1833).
Dyed muslin, thread
Two panels, each 133 × 144 inches
A window installation for New York University’s Grey Art Gallery on Washington Square recalling the site’s history as a potter’s field. The fabric color and form commemorate the shrouds of yellow fever victims of the late-18th and early-19th centuries, thousands of whom lay buried in unmarked graves beneath the park.
18 × 24 inches
A street sign—part of REPOhistory: The Lower Manhattan Sign Project—marking the Pine Street location of the original headquarters of John Jacob Astor’s fur-trading empire, and addressing his questionable trading practices with Native Americans.
40 cast concrete markers, each 22 × 14 × 6 inches
Installation at Collect Pond Park in Lower Manhattan
A Public Art Fund-sponsored installation on the site of the Collect, a buried pond in lower Manhattan, consisting of forty markers arranged in the shape of the pond as it appears on old maps. Each marker contains a relief cast referring to the natural and social history of the pond. Originally spring-fed and pristine, it was polluted by colonial industry and filled beginning in 1803. The title and inscription are taken from Thoreau’s Walden—“A field of water betrays the spirit that is in the air”.
Sound, steel, wood, paint
85 × 46 × 22 inches
An installation at Wave Hill based on Thoreau’s famous night in Concord Jail, which he described in the essay Civil Disobedience:
I was an involuntary spectator and auditor of whatever was done and said in the kitchen of the adjacent village inn—a wholly new and rare experience to me. It was a closer view of my native town. I was fairly inside of it. I never had seen its institutions before. This is one of its peculiar institutions; for it is a shire town. I began to comprehend what its inhabitants were about.
It consists of steel bars installed in a window of Glyndor House Gallery and a digital audio loop of the kitchen at Wave Hill House recorded during a catered event.Click Here to Listen to Sound Excerpt
Installation at the Hall, Compton Verney. Warwickshire, England
A sound installation of a bison stampede, directionally alternating from one end of the Robert Adam-designed Hall of the mansion to the other.Click Here to Listen to Sound Excerpt
Acrylic on linen map
55.5 × 55.5 inches
A classroom map of New York State overpainted by the artist so that only Native American place names remain.
Acrylic watches, birch log, vitrine with logo
48 × 24 × 42 inches
For a Swiss Institute exhibition featuring the work of Peter Rindisbacher, a 19th century Swiss-born North American artist whose subject was Native Americans, an installation in the form of a boutique-like display of “Chippewatches”, Swiss-style fashion watches imprinted with images appropriated from his work. In this exhibition, Rindisbacher’s works were juxtaposed with those of ten contemporary Native American artists invited to respond to his oeuvre.
Eight paper model sculptures of log cabins displayed in vitrines—four of which are based on fictional models taken from painting, spectacle, and cinema, and four on historic structures. Prophetstown appropriates the miniature diorama—a museum format associated with the representation of Native American peoples and their dwellings—and deploys a range of specific references to look critically at an American frontier icon.Click Here to View Prophetstown Sculptures
Handmade paper, archival ink, and archival board
Dimensions: cabin: 12.25 x 18 x 10.5 inches; shed: 3 x 8.25 x 7.25 inches
Thomas Cole, founder of the Hudson River School of painting, depicted a frontier family in their log cabin, a popular domestic motif of the era, in his 1847 painting "Home in the Woods" (the source for this sculpture). Printed on this sculpture are facsimiles of the 1809 Treaty of Fort Wayne that, despite objections from the nations involved, conveyed some three million acres of Indian land to the U.S.
Handmade paper, archival board, and faux flame device
Dimensions: 12.5 x 21.25 X 14 inches, shed: 4 x 10.25 x 8.5 inches
One of the features of "Western Land", an attraction at Disneyland Tokyo, is a perennially burning settler log cabin (the source for this sculpture), which is based on the original prop at Disneyland in California that included a settler mannequin with an arrow in his chest.
Handmade paper, archival board, black archival paper, and acrylic paint
Dimensions: 9 x 9.5 x 7.5 inches
The climactic finale of Buffalo Bill's Wild West was "Attack on the Burning Cabin". In this spectacle, Native American performers simulated an attack on a prop log cabin (the source for this sculpture) housing a white family, who were then "rescued" by Buffalo Bill and his cowboys.
Handmade paper, archival board, archival ink, and grout
Dimensions: cabin: 5 x 16 x 8 inches; base: 5 x 26 x 26 inches
In John Ford's classic 1956 western, The Searchers, Indian-hating Texan Ethan Edwards, played by John Wayne, finds the remains of his brother's slain family in the smoldering ruins of a dugout cabin (the source for this sculpture) on their ranch following a Comanche raid. Printed on this sculpture are excerpts from the film script.
Handmade paper, archival ink, and archival board
Dimensions: 9.5 x 7.5 x 9.25 inches
Ted Kaczynski, aka the "Unabomber", is an American mathematician and former professor who moved to a remote shack in Montana (the source for this sculpture) in 1971. Angered by the development of the surrounding wilderness, he launched a mail bomb campaign that killed three and injured 23. Kaczynski's demands to publish his manifesto, Industrial Society and Its Future—excerpts from which are printed on this sculpture along with the FBI wanted poster—were met by the New York Times and Washington Post in 1995. Apprehended in 1996, he is serving a life sentence in federal prison.
Handmade paper, archival ink, archival board, and balsa wood
Dimensions: cabin: 12.5 x 7.75 x 11 inches; shed 3.5 x 5 x 2.5 inches
American author, poet, naturalist, philosopher, abolitionist, and tax resister, Henry David Thoreau built a cabin (the source for this sculpture) on Walden Pond in Massachusetts as an experiment in simple living, immortalized in his 1854 book Walden; or Life in the Woods. He also authored the landmark 1849 essay Resistance to Civil Government (Civil Disobedience)—pages from which are printed on this sculpture—that influenced both Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Handmade paper, archival ink, archival board, and balsa wood
Dimensions: 19 x 17.25 x 31 inches
The Cherokee Nation was an autonomous, Southern Appalachian tribal nation who modernized, adopting farming techniques, a written constitution, a judiciary, and printed their own bilingual (Cherokee/English) newspaper, The Cherokee Phoenix. This sculpture is based on the print shop that housed their press, and printed on the sculpture are newspaper pages from 1831. Despite strenuous attempts by the Cherokee Nation to remain in their homelands, the signed but unauthorized Treaty of New Echota (printed on the roof of the sculpture) engineered their forced removal to Indian Territory (modern-day Oklahoma) in the Trail of Tears—a brutal march in the winter of 1838 in which approximately 4,000 perished.
Handmade paper, archival ink, archival board, balsa wood, and 22kt Italian gold leaf
Dimensions: 11 x 16.5 x 9 inches
The Eaglehawk Lockup (the source for this sculpture) in Bendigo, Victoria, Australia, built in 1855 during the Victorian gold rush, is a rare Australian example of North American-style log cabin construction. Mining displaced Australian Aborigines from their lands, while environmentally devastating the lands in the process.
Mantle will be a site-specific public monument on the grounds of Virginia's historic Capitol Square commemorating the contributions of Virginia's Indians. Oriented to the earth and incorporating existing trees, Mantle will consist of four integrated spiral elements: a brick-paved winding footpath; a continuous wall that will also be a bench for seating; natural, low-maintenance landscaping consisting of a selection of perennial native plant species, including wildflowers, indigenous to Virginia; and at the center of the spiral, a circular reflecting pool containing the names of Virginia Indian tribes in sculptural letterforms.
Mantle will be entered from the east. Its shape is derived from two cultural sources: Powhatan's Mantle, an historic deerskin garment decorated with shell-beads sewn in spiral clusters thought to represent the 34 members of the Powhatan Confederacy; and labyrinths.
This permanent public artwork is a tribute to Virginia's Indian tribes commissioned by the Virginia Indian Commemorative Commission.