Muskegon, MI—The Muskegon Museum of Art is marking the 150th Anniversary of the birth of renowned photographer Edward Curtis by presenting 150 photogravures from The North American Indian, Curtis’s monumental project comprised of 20 volumes of text and over 700 large portfolio prints that sought to document the Native American tribes of the Western United States.
The show will also feature the premiere of newly acquired copper plates used in the creation of the photogravures, a new gold-tone print of plate #1—The Vanishing Race, and several of the volumes. The 150th Anniversary of Edward Curtis: 150 Masterpieces from The North American Indian runs through September 9, 2018.
Created over a span of decades, Curtis’s project was unique for its time, and was a passion that ultimately cost Curtis his health, livelihood, and family. But the enduring legacy of The North American Indian remains, a record of the humanity and strength of Native Americans, at a time when their way of life was under constant threat.
The Muskegon Museum of Art featured the entire collection of The North American Indian over the summer of 2017 in a multi-gallery exhibition that attracted visitors from around the world. The exhibition was both a celebration of Curtis’s achievement and an examination of the dual nature of its legacy, of the preservation of knowledge and culture, and the harmful perpetuations of stereotypes and prejudices that continue to affect the social and political landscape in our country today
The 150th Anniversary of Edward Curtis: 150 Masterpieces from The North American Indian brings to view images that represent the breadth of subjects touched on in last year’s presentation. The 2018 exhibition also examines some of the criticism of Curtis’s works, using the photos to present the dilemmas that are part of an understanding of the project’s legacy.