Museum of Contemporary Native Arts

It Wasn’t The Dream of Golden Cities: Postcommodity

August 2, 2010- January 2, 2011

Curator: Ryan Rice, Chief Curator, Museum of Contemporary Native Arts
(Partially funded by the National Museum of American Indian Indigenous Contemporary Art Program and the Harpo Foundation)

It Wasn’t The Dream of Golden Cities is a commissioned response to Santa Fe’s 400th celebration by Postcommodity an interdisciplinary Native arts collective comprised of Raven Chacon (Navajo), Kade L. Twist (Cherokee), Steven Yazzie (Laguna/Navajo) and Nathan Young (Delaware/Kiowa/Pawnee). Together, they work to advance Indigenous cultural self-determination and to decolonize American geographies and narratives. It Wasn’t The Dream of Golden Cities is a multi-faceted conceptual project occupying three gallery spaces in the museum, and utilizes elements of sound, video, performance, installation and sculpture to recount histories stimulated from the local and global economical and spiritual commodification informed by political, social and cultural values associated with legislation, conquest, de-celebration, protocol and convergence.

It Wasn’t the Dream of Golden Cities incites artistic forms of intervention, re-action and response to the 400th anniversary celebration of the founding of Santa Fe as a means of elevating the awareness of Indigenous land, community, people, history, culture and political sovereignty. The installations intervene on behalf of the Indigenous people who were born of this land, and are the original stewards of this land in light of the celebratory achievements of the city.

In addition to the implication of the celebratory event, Postcommodity also initiates Santa Fe’s Indian Market in It Wasn’t The Dream of Golden Cities, uniquely and intuitively reacting through a critical lens to the contemporary manifestations of the marketplace within Santa Fe’s geography while alluding to a global art market. Instead of presenting the commodified beauty of a woven rug, jewelry, pottery or painting, Postcommodity confronts audiences with art that removes itself from an invented Western conceptual framework of commodity, authenticity or cultural fetish.

It Wasn’t The Dream Of Golden Cities is comprised of the following three works:

P’oe iwe naví ûnp’oe dînmuu (My Blood is in the Water) is a mixed-media installation that memorializes and evokes the spirit of a mule deer as a mediator of this land, people and culture.

If History Moves At the Speed of its Weapons, Then You’re In Luck (in collaboration with Cristóbal Martínez and Andrew McCord), is a sonic ambush composed from in-depth ballistic analysis of Pueblo Revolt era weapons (bow and arrow, atlatl and dart, sling and rock, and war club).

It’s My Second Home, But I Have a Very Spiritual Connection With This Place, a two-channel video and sound installation exploring and revealing a contemporary lay of land.

Guest Essay by Gerald McMaster