Changing the Tone

Contemporary American Indian Photographers

Exhibition Website

Feb 20 2016 - May 29 2016

Palm Springs Art Museum

Palm Springs, CA

This exhibition, which features works by artists of Native American heritage including Gerald Clarke, Lewis deSoto, Nicholas Galanin, Kent Monkman, Shelley Niro, and Will Wilson, provides a contemporary context for the historical photographs of Edward Curtis. 

In images that reflect on portraiture, cultural heritage, and their relationship to the land, these artists offer diverse perspectives on Native American identity as well as on critical issues around photography as a documentary medium, i.e., the extent to which it is fact, fiction, or some combination of both. In his portraits, Curtis manipulated native props and costumes while excising any western elements in his images, eliminating signs of modern life and creating a romanticized impression of a pre-European society. 

The contemporary artists presented here offer a counterpoint through their own constructed imagery. They provide a variety of responses that allow viewers to consider the role of photography in portraying a people, their culture, and their ongoing history. 

Exhibition overview from the museum website

  • Photography
  • Indigenous
  • Contemporary
  • Portrait

Exhibition Venues & Dates