Decolonizing the Museum, Part One

November 29, 2017 at 10:21 am Leave a comment

Kay WalkingStick. Me and My Neon Box

Kay WalkingStick. Me and My Neon Box, 1971. Acrylic on canvas, 54 x 60 in. Newark Museum purchase, 2017. ©Kay WalkingStick

In honor of Native American Heritage Honth we’re highlighting a new acquisition, a major early work by Kay WalkingStick, Me and My Neon Box, 1971. An enrolled member of the Cherokee nation, throughout her long and celebrated career WalkingStick has advocated that Native American art is American art. Newark’s collecting has followed this integrative model from the beginning, and so we continue in the 21st century. This vibrant, large-scale painting—the 4th work by WalkingStick to enter the collection—will be a highlight of our expanded Pop Art gallery, opening in February 2019, part of a comprehensive reinstallation of the Seeing America galleries funded by the Henry Luce Foundation.

neon box

Kay WalkingStick, circa 1971. ©Kay WalkingStick

Me and My Neon Box celebrates the feminine subject as powerful and erotically charged. Both playful and political, this work feels as relevant now as it did when it was painted at the birth of the feminist movement some 50 years ago.  Using her own naked body as a model WalkingStick painted contours and shadows in a hard-edge style that pops and glows with a saturated candy colored palette. It’s worth noting that in modern art in general—and especially in Pop Art—representations of women painted by women were rare and radical enough that WalkingStick experienced censorship in her efforts to show these works in the 1970s.

Me and My Neon Box is currently traveling in the retrospective Kay WalkingStick: An American Artist.  The final stop for this nationally touring exhibition will be the Montclair Art Museum February 3-June 18, 2018.

– Tricia Laughlin Bloom, Curator of American Art



Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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