Mennello Museum of American Art presents "In Conversation: Will Wilson"
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Mennello Museum of American Art presents "In Conversation: Will Wilson"
Will Wilson (b. 1969), Raven Knight, Citizen of the Jicarilla Apache Nation, Dancer, Dancing Earth, Indigenous Contemporary Dance Creations, 2012, printed 2018, archival pigment print from wet plate collodion scan, 22 x 17 in. Art Bridges. Photography by Brad Flowers.



ORLANDO, FLA.- Mennello Museum of American Art is pleased to announce the exhibition In Conversation: Will Wilson, organized by Chrystal Bridges Museum of American Art that opened on October 28, 2022, with an upcoming public reception on November 4, 2022. The exhibition is on view from October 28, 2022 - February 12, 2023. Coinciding with Native American Heritage Month, this powerful exhibition presents a conversation across 100 years of image-making that brings a contemporary voice in images and moving images via photography and Artificial Reality (AR) in which still subjects yield their voice. In the gallery space, museum and education copy is in English and Spanish.

Photographer Will Wilson, Diné (Navajo) presents a compelling contemporary exploration of self-representation through the science of photography and digital media in response to the continuing impact of early 20th-century photographer Edward S. Curtis’s images from his The North American Indian (1907-1930).

Wilson presents an authentic, twenty-first-century depiction of Indigenous culture through his photography, even allowing his subjects to choose the pose, clothing, props, and context of each photograph. This exhibition will also feature photographs from Edward Curtis, who traveled throughout the western United States between 1907 and 1930 to photograph the traditions and cultures of Native American peoples. The photographs of Wilson and Curtis, in conversation, offer a chance to see different depictions of Native peoples and to think critically about how they have been portrayed in photography over the past century.

Wilson’s ongoing Critical Indigenous Photographic Exchange (CIPX) addresses these misconceptions through his use of historical photographic techniques and emphasis on a reciprocal relationship with the sitters, which allows for agency over all aspects of their presentation. Wilson pushes the CIPX project even further into the contemporary with the inclusion of “Talking Tintypes,” which uses Augmented Reality (AR) technology in a convenient app to bring photographs to life. In Conversation is a contemporary exploration of the science of photography but also a response to the historical impact and importance of (self-) representation.

In Conversation: Will Wilson is made possible by the Art Bridges Foundation. Art Bridges is the vision of philanthropist and arts patron Alice Walton and is dedicated to expanding access to American art in all regions across the United States. Since 2017, Art Bridges has been creating and supporting programs that bring outstanding works of American art out of storage and into communities. Art Bridges partners with museums of all sizes and locations to provide financial and strategic support for exhibition development, collection loans from Art Bridges and other museums, and programs designed to educate, inspire, and deepen engagement with local audiences.




Will Wilson shares:

[Edward] Curtis created the most comprehensive archive of Indigenous North Americans, and now contemporary artists want to take that authority back and create archives of who they believe themselves to be.

Shannon Fitzgerald, Executive Director, Mennello Museum of American Art states:

This exhibition is innovative and experimental as it powerfully introduces Native American image-making from both a historical and contemporary perspective that challenges perception, expands knowledge about representation and narrative, and enlightens the public. The museum is honored to present Will Wilson’s conversation, and his Indigenous view of the historic images made by Edward S. Curtis (side by side) in a new light and context that wonderfully contributes to our dialogue about a more expansive view of American Art, its makers and its audiences.

In Conversation: Will Wilson is organized by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

This exhibition was curated by Mindy Besaw, Curator of American Art/Director of Fellowships & Research from Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and Ashley Holland (Cherokee), Associate Curator from the Art Bridges Foundation. The Mennello Museum of American Art is one of nine venues participating in this distinctive touring exhibition that is made possible with the financial support of Art Bridges.

About Art Bridges
Art Bridges is the vision of philanthropist and arts patron Alice Walton. The mission of Art Bridges is to expand access to American art in all regions across the United States. Since 2017, Art Bridges has been creating and supporting programs that bring outstanding works of American art out of storage and into communities. Art Bridges partners with a growing network of over 190 museums of all sizes and locations to provide financial and strategic support for exhibition development, loans from the Art Bridges collection, and programs designed to educate, inspire, and deepen engagement with local audiences. The Art Bridges Collection represents an expanding vision of American art from the 19th century to the present day and encompasses multiple media and voices.










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