Action/Abstraction Redefined: Modern Native Art, 1940s–1970s, is the first ticketed exhibition at the Saint Louis Art Museum to focus on modern Native American art. Expanding the narrative of mid-century abstraction, the exhibition highlights groundbreaking paintings, sculptures, textiles and works on paper that challenged stereotypical expectations of Native American art during the postwar era.
Innovative artists, including Fritz Scholder, Lloyd Kiva New and Linda Lomahaftewa, explored new modes of artistic expression in studios across the nation and especially at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA), founded in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1962. IAIA’s revolutionary pedagogy encouraged experimentation as artists combined styles and methods of the New York School with abstract forms based in historical Native art.
The exhibition introduces audiences to this exciting body of artwork and deepens scholarship by highlighting many women artists whose work remains largely unknown even among specialists.
Action/Abstraction Redefined is organized by the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, a Native American-led institution with a deep, focused collection. In the St. Louis presentation, Saint Louis Art Museum curators have expanded the number of works to provide greater context for the remarkable story of abstraction during the first decade of IAIA.
The Saint Louis Art Museum will celebrate Action/Abstraction Redefined with a free, public preview starting at 4 p.m. on June 23.