Summer is in full swing at Modern West Fine Art and we have exciting events coming up!
Friday, July 18th artist, Frank Buffalo Hyde will be in town for his solo show titled NDN Nouveau. He has shown his contemporary paintings all over the world and last year Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian acquired the 13-painting SKNDNS | Native Americans on Film, for their permanent collection. We are thrilled to have Frank Buffalo Hyde’s artwork at Modern West Fine Art. If you’d like to know more, read Salt Lake City art critic, Ehren Clark’s great write up on Frank Buffalo Hyde below.
In other news, Salt Lake Magazine included the gallery in their Best of Beehive 2014 issue. There is a write-up on our blue floors, designed by Mark Hofeling. Be sure to look for it!
AND we have fabulous new oil paintings from Billy Schenck.
Frank Buffalo Hyde: Seeing Through His Lens
By Ehren E. Clark
What could hamburgers, cheerleaders, mobile telephones, and Pablo Picasso possibly have in common with the historical culture of Native Americans? Well, absolutely nothing, unless you are artist and activist Frank Buffalo Hyde. Although the artist considers himself to have a "fragmented contemporary life," he is deeply connected to his heritage and identifies himself as a Native American, of the Onondaga tribe of central New York. The reality of the situation of his people today, propels an artist who, knows the art world of Chicago and New York, knows his people even more. Putting the two together, he is a world-class contemporary artist with a cause.
In Buffalo Burger Study, Buffalo Hyde paints the quintessential American hamburger, complete with thick bun, catsup, lettuce and cheese… But, WHERE’S THE BEEF? Instead of a burger, Buffalo Hyde has placed a live, full-scale buffalo in this hamburger, with its head sticking out to the right, white sharp horns, and legs protruding downwards. So much can be gleaned from this visual statement, and it is a credit to the artist that it allows for such a wide territory of meaning. The most apparent is the prototypical food of the United States devouring the archetypical food of the Native American. The concept of commercialism comes to the fore. This Pop Art is nothing like the Pop Art of the last century. Instead of its simple appeal to the masses, it’s a wake up call to the masses, thanks to an artist who is bold, done with humor and finesse.
Similar readings can be given to the subsequent images with the same kind of open door to meaning. Hopi Cheerleader Red conjures up questions of segregation and marginalization. As well as the controversy over reservations and the troubles with incorporation of Native American cultures into middleclass society. I-Witness Culture, the mobile telephone with a traditional warrior on it, raises issues of consumerism and the disparaging situation of poverty between various races. Puck Ficasso Study is an image of Picasso with a headdress that is more than humor; it is counter-subversion as the Native American might be included with other cultures as primitive to Picasso, and the art of their production never a “high art” like Picasso’s, even though in the image he wears a Native headdress.
At the end of looking through the series, one must accept the reality of difference, between buffalo and hamburger, between a young Hopi woman and the archetypical cheerleader, between consumerism and warrior tradition, and Picasso and the art of Native America. Unlike the integration of several minorities, perhaps Frank Buffalo Hyde is also showing us the absurdity of trying to merge very different cultures, with different traditions, histories, and spiritualties. Perhaps the best way to resolve our differences is to embrace them. Perhaps that is the best place to start and then we begin to become united.
-Ehren E. Clark