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March 04 2017

The Creative Potential of Historical Native American Drawings

A Year of Positive Thinking

Reviewing the Armory Show 2017, artist, writer and educator Mira Schor elucidates the liberating potential emerging between the contemporary and historical paintings on show at Pier 94 and Pier 92.

Known for her contributions to critical discourse on the status of painting in contemporary art and culture, Schor criticised that ‘there was simply nothing to say’ about much of the contemporary art on show at Pier 94, ‘except that there was nothing to say about it.' By the end of her tour, she reports feeling terribly tired, ‘and further and more dangerously, dispirited about the whole idea of being artists.’

By contrast, two Native American hide shields and ‘the most beautiful and engaging group’ of late nineteenth and early twentieth century Ledger Drawings on view at Donald Ellis Gallery at Pier 92 invigorated the artist: ‘The inventiveness of these drawings in the artists’ efforts to depict using very reduced means (am referring to the works on paper with pencil and sometimes ink, materials which appear to be what was available to them on reservations) what they were seeing and experiencing was absolutely inspiring.’

Schor concludes by emphasising the creative potential emerging from the potent antagonism between the ‘work I “hated” and the work I loved: While ‘Pier 94 made us want to give up on art making, with a few exceptions, Pier 92 made it possible to want to go home and work in the studio.’

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The Creative Potential of Historical Native American Drawings