Warhol Foundation Board Lifts 8-Year Funding Ban on the Smithsonian

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Warhol Foundation Board Lifts 8-Year Funding Ban on the Smithsonian

The Board of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts has voted to lift its eight-year funding ban on the Smithsonian Institution. The Foundation will award $100,000 to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) for a major Oscar Howe retrospective as part of its Fall 2018 Grants, which will be announced next week. The Oscar Howe Project will include the first major retrospective, touring exhibition, and publication to feature the work of this groundbreaking and influential artist. The exhibition will include approximately 75 paintings, many of which will be on view publicly for the first time. Oscar Howe (1915-1983), a member of the Yanktonai Dakota tribe, was a pioneering student of Dorothy Dunn, an influential non-Native teacher who developed and promoted rigid aesthetic standards that came to define Native American painting in the United States in the early to mid-20th century. Howe pushed against these conventions and experimented with dynamic abstract compositions in pursuit of his own modernist style. He was openly critical of the narrow parameters imposed upon Native art and strongly defended the right of Native artists to steer their own paths. His work as both an artist and an activist is widely seen as a major influence on experimental contemporary Native art.

The funding ban on the Smithsonian was initiated in 2010 after the National Portrait Gallery, under pressure from the Catholic League and several Washington politicians, removed artist David Wojnarowicz’s video A Fire in My Belly from the Foundation-supported exhibition Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture...

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