Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) Alumnus T.C. Cannon’s Works to Tour

Indian Man, oil on canvas, ca. 1967,
42 3/8 x 42 3/8 inches

Published February 20, 2018

SANTA FE – IAIA recently loaned key works by seminal artist T.C. Cannon to the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) for their upcoming exhibition: T.C. Cannon: At the Edge of America. Tommy Wayne (‘T.C.’) Cannon grew up in a rural farming community in southeastern Oklahoma, raised by his Kiowa father and Caddo mother. America’s cultural revolution was ablaze when Cannon left home in 1964 to begin his journey as an artist at the newly minted experimental arts-based school in Santa Fe, the Institute of American Indian Arts, where he began to address and rethink-on the stage of Western art history-the political narratives between Native Americans and the U.S. Government.

The Peabody Essex Museum presents an exhibition celebrating one of the most influential and inventive Native American artists of the 20th-century, T.C. Cannon (1946-1978, Caddo/Kiowa). T.C. Cannon: At the Edge of America ౼ on view at PEM from March 3, 2018 through June 10, 2018 ౼  explores the dynamic creative range and legacy of an artist whose life was cut short at age 31. Through nearly 90 works, including 30 major paintings, works on paper, poetry, and musical recordings, Cannon’s distinctive and affecting worldview shines through in this groundbreaking exhibition that is organized by PEM and will tour the country through 2019. After PEM the exhibition will head to the Gilcrease Museum,Tulsa, OK, from July 14 through October 7, 2018; then to the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), New York, NY, from March 16 – September 16, 2019.

This is the first major traveling exhibition of his work since 1990. Deeply personal yet undeniably political, Cannon’s artwork adeptly channels

his cultural heritage, experience as a Vietnam War veteran, and the turbulent social and political climate that defined 1960s and ’70s America. Amid ongoing national and global conversations about ethnic identity, social justice, land rights and cultural appropriation, Cannon’s work continues to engage issues that are as relevant now as they were 50 years ago. “Never shying from the complexity and nuance of identity politics, Cannon interrogated American history and popular culture through his Native lens and showed us that Native American history and culture are integral to the American experience,” says Karen Kramer, exhibition curator and PEM’s Curator of Native American and Oceanic Art and Culture.

Throughout his highly-productive but short career, Cannon fostered a deep intellectual curiosity about the human experience and developed a signature painting style that favored bold color combinations and mash-ups between Native and non-Native elements. In an innovative approach, Cannon fused visual elements from his Native American worldview with European and American artistic influences, such as Vincent van Gogh, Henri Matisse, and Robert Rauschenberg. Cannon’s hybrid visual vocabulary aimed to restore the identity and agency of his sitters, situating his Native subjects within distinct settings, whether contemporary interiors or timeless landscapes.

It’s Alright Ma, I’m Only Signing, oil on canvas, 1966,
46 x 56 inches

The following eight T.C. Cannon works from IAIA’s National Collection of Contemporary Native Arts have been shipped for loan to the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM), Salem, MA for the traveling exhibition T.C. Cannon: At the Edge of America, Jan. 2018 – Dec. 2019:

Indian Man, oil on canvas, ca. 1967, 42 3/8 x 42 3/8 inches
Tale of a Bigfoot Incident in American Vernacular, oil, mixed media on canvas, 1966, 72 x 60 inches
D-Day Blues, oil, collage, mixed media on canvas, 1966, 36 x 36 inches
Mama and Papa Have the Going Home to Shiprock Blues, oil, acrylic on canvas, 1966, 84 x 60 inches
It’s Alright Ma, I’m Only Signing, oil on canvas, 1966, 46 x 56 inches
New Mexico Genre, oil, mixed media, collage, paper on canvas, 42 x 48 in.
Revelation of Standing Sun, oil on canvas, 1966, 50 x 68 ½ inches
Untitled, mixed media, ink wash, white chalk on paper, 1965, 29 ¾ x 65 inches

Tatiana Lomahaftewa-Singer (Hopi/Choctaw), Curator of Collections for the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts remarked, “The Institute is fortunate to have his early seminal student works and we are happy to have some of our most important works in the collection included in this exhibition.”
T.C. Cannon: At the Edge of America is organized by the Peabody Essex Museum. The exhibition was made possible in part by an award from the National Endowment for the ArtsCarolyn and Peter S. Lynch and The Lynch Foundation and Ellen and Steve Hoffman provided generous support. PEM also recognizes the generosity of the East India Marine Associates of the Peabody Essex Museum. Media Partner: Northshore Magazine.
Excerpted from the PEM Website

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