A Monthly Culture Matrix For the International Citizen

James Luna: Take a Picture with a Real Indian

Garth Greenan Gallery New York Art

On April 2, 1991, James Luna stood in the Whitney Museum of American Art, the downtown branch at the Federal Reserve Plaza, dressed in Native American clothing. “Take a picture with a real Indian,” he shouted. Embarrassed yet amused, the audience gathered around, not quite knowing how to react. Luna, who died in 2018, described this performance piece as a mutual humiliation: by posing as a tourist attraction he was pointing up the simultaneous romanticizing and commodification of Native American culture, the way America turns his people into a tourist attraction. Almost 30 years later, this online exhibition displays photographs of that day. —E.C.

Garth Greenan Gallery 545 W 20th St, New York, NY 10011
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