The Art Museum of West Virginia University recently acquired “Four Seasons,” a suite of four color photographs from nationally recognized contemporary artist Wendy Red Star.
“The ‘Four Seasons’ series is about the representation of Native peoples in museums,” said Red Star. “This work is meant to promote education and awareness so it is fitting that the work is in an academic museum at a Big 12 school.
“This work is a starting point for discussions around empathy and humanity and a great entry point for students who are new to museums to think differently about the ways in which BIPOC are represented in institutions.”
Raised on the Apsáalooke (Crow) reservation in Montana, Red Star’s work is informed both by her cultural heritage and her engagement with many forms of creative expression, including photography, sculpture, video, fiber arts and performance.
Red Star made this set of photographs as a graduate student at UCLA in 2006, and they have been collected by major museums including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Portland Art Museum; and Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City.
“These photographs are particularly resonant for academic collections for their ability to stimulate conversations around topics such as identity, representation, the history of museums, contemporary photography and Native American history and culture,” said Art Museum of WVU Director Todd J. Tubutis.
Red Star’s is an influential voice from the art world, recently giving her thoughts on statues and whitewashing museums to CNN, talking about teaching her heritage through art with Hyperallergic and receiving praise for her exhibition, “Wendy Red Star: A Scratch on the Earth” from The New York Times. Most recently she served as guest editor for “Native America,” a special issue of Aperture magazine published this fall.
The purchase of Red Star’s ‘Four Seasons’ was made possible by the Fred P. and Joan C. Stamp Art Museum Acquisition Fund, which allows for the purchases of artwork for the permanent collection at the museum.
“Acquisition funds like the one generously established by the Stamps are essential to make these kinds of important acquisitions,” Tubutis said. “They allow works like Red Star’s iconic series to be part of the permanent collection for future generations, and they are especially important for a young museum like ours that strives to bring the world of contemporary art to the campus and community of Morgantown.
Images © Wendy Red Star