Wendy Red Star: A Scratch on the Earth is a mid-career survey of the work of Portland artist Wendy Red Star (born 1981, Billings, Montana). An enrolled member of the Apsáalooke (Crow) Tribe, Red Star works across disciplines to explore the intersections of Native American ideologies and colonialist structures, both historically and in contemporary society. Drawing on pop culture, conceptual art strategies, and the Crow traditions within which she was raised, Red Star pushes photography in new directions—from self-portraiture to photo-collage and mixed media—to bring to life her unique perspective on American history.
The title A Scratch on the Earth is a translation of the Apsáalooke word Annúkaxua and refers to the period after 1880 when U.S. government policy prioritized keeping Crow people on the reservation. The importance of family, the Indigenous roots of feminism, Crow mythology, the history of the Montana landscape, and the pageantry of Crow Fest are among the subjects that Red Star brings to life in this exhibition. A Scratch on the Earth also explores how boundaries between cultural, racial, social, and gender lines are reinforced in America, and how these lines blur across time and place.
Wendy Red Star: A Scratch on the Earth features forty works drawn from the collection of the Newark Museum of Art and museums across the country and includes photography, textiles, and film and sound installations, produced over a period of twelve years. At the heart of the exhibition, a new immersive video will be screened inside a sweat lodge constructed by the artist.
The exhibition was originally organized by the Newark Museum of Art, and curated by Nadiah Rivera Fellah, guest curator, and Tricia Laughlin Bloom, Newark’s Curator of American Art.
The exhibition is accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue published by the Newark Museum of Art.