Walkers on New York City's High Line will soon see a billboard-sized work by Ojibwe artist Andrea Carlson.
"Red Exit," based on a 2020 piece by Carlson, will debut Jan. 25 across from the Whitney Museum of Art as part of a series of public installations organized by the Whitney.
A dizzying, layered cascade of horizontal images with a scarlet "EXIT" sign hovering above, the 17-by-29-foot multi-part vinyl print simultaneously confronts erasure of Indigenous cultures while serving as a celebration of resistance and joy. At the bottom, a loon, known in Ojibwe re-creation narratives as an Earth-Diver, anchors the remaking of the world. Various figures and symbols, including an infinity sign from the flag of the Métis people, create new narratives of contemporary Indigenous experience.
"At this time when we are frequently kept apart, Carlson's engagement with public space raises so many compelling questions about belonging, landscape, and the boundaries between the public and private," said David Breslin, the museum's director of curatorial initiatives. "These are concerns we all share, but they are concerns that Carlson and Indigenous artists have centered and foregrounded in their respective practices."
In his statement, Breslin noted that the Whitney is located in the ancestral homeland of the Lenape.
Although she now lives in Chicago, Carlson is from Minnesota and has lived here most of her life. Her work is currently on view in the Walker's quietly powerful show "Don't Let This Be Easy," which examines structural inequality in the art world and the Walker's collection through an intersectional feminist framework.
She was included in Minneapolis Institute of Art's groundbreaking traveling exhibition "Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists," and has had solo exhibitions at Bockley Gallery, Minneapolis Institute of Art and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.
Her work is in permanent collections at Walker, Mia and many others.
Alicia Eler • 612-673-4437