Kill the Indian, Save the Man
A survey of Indian Boarding Schools Operating from 1850-2017*
Vinyl, thermochromic ink, and charting tape.
This artwork is intended to be touched. This map appears in a censored state, with black ink obscuring the content. This special ink can be made transparent using the heat of touch. The viewer is encouraged to touch the artwork to reveal details obscured at first glance.
“A great general has said that the only good Indian is a dead one, and that high sanction of his destruction has been an enormous factor in promoting Indian massacres. In a sense, I agree with the sentiment, but only in this: that all the Indian there is in the race should be dead. Kill the Indian in him, and save the man.”
- Capt. Richard H. Pratt
The phrase, “Kill the Indian, Save the Man” spoken at the Official Report of the Nineteenth Annual Conference of Charities and Correction 1892, was coined by Capt. Richard H. Pratt, the founder of the first Indian Boarding School in Oregon state in 1850. It became the hallmark slogan for a federal campaign that was later recognized as a primary instrument of cultural genocide. And yet, I never once learned about this history in my official education- public or private. I learned of it through my family history, as an explanation of how our cultural practices were forbidden, and then became lost.
There were hundreds of US Indian Boarding Schools, many of whose names have vanished through academic neglect. Hundreds of thousands of native children were forcibly taken from their families over a span of 128 years, until the Indian Child Welfare Act 0f 1978 gave native families’ the custodial rights to protect their children. Prior to this law, native children could be rounded up by public or private agencies and forcibly relocated to boarding schools, seminaries, military facilities and labor camps to have their culture, language, and religion systematically stripped from them. Aside from ethnic cleansing, the schools were notoriously riddled with brutality, sexual assault, labor exploitation, neglect, and disease. It’s a chapter in our history that altered the shape of a people irrevocably and caused immense harm to individuals, families, and tribes.
And yet, this history has been largely expunged through silence and censorship. When you first encountered this piece, you might have wondered what the black bars represented. What was so widespread, and yet intentionally obscured from you? I invite you to participate in undoing this erasure. To use your personal body heat to expose, however briefly, the names of the schools that were formed in an attempt to erase indigenous culture.
*Schools marked with an asterisk are still in operation today.
open Saturdays 12/17/16- 1/14/17
the moon will come but it won’t get too dark
In this age of uncertainty, when every person we know and love is feeling depleted, do you feel a need for one of those moments where you can just be still? This year has been a constant outpour of energy / of time / of emotions / of a focus on survival. Always one to follow intuitions, what do we do about that familiar pull towards self-sabotage? The gravity of constantly confronting joy and terror and the general banalities of life takes a toll on us; where does all of that go / how do we let it go?
I feel a kinship to ginkgo trees. They’re just one of those things I find myself bowing to as I pass by (I’ve come to realize I do this a lot although i really only do it to places or plants or animals) - i think it must be that ancient calmness they exude. Their ancient lineage and longevity is documented across eras through fossils, but their strength is proven to be unparalleled, since six of them survived the atomic blast in Hiroshima in WWII and were less than a mile away from the bomb site. But when I pass by and see them changing their colour and shedding leaves, I think about how young they must feel to do this every year without fail, and how all six of those massively damaged trees grew buds from their burns, and continue to thrive.
I walk by this one most days, and each time it’s such a comfort. There’s a specific point every year where all of the golden little fan leaves fall and I have this moment of deja vu when I stand underneath and the only thing I can think is THERE’S MAGIC HERE. They have this rustling sound as they fall around you and it sounds like the murmuring of the sea on an oddly calm day, and then suddenly I’m in two places at once. It’s comfy and it reminds me of my family, and that there’s a calmness and warmth to loving someone when they’re at their most tender. Everything has to be warm like the words we use and the way we embrace one another, and how we all need to be upfront about the way we give and receive care. I think that same way trauma is passed through generations, healing is too. By caring for ourselves, we pass it to our friends and family, and our ancestors, so isn’t it our reason to be in a way?
Mel Carter (b. 1992) grew up in the Bay Area and now lives and works in Seattle. She graduated with a BFA in Photomedia from the University of Washington in 2014. She explores relationships between humor, the grotesque, whimsy, and intimacy through mixed media. She uses materials she’s comforted by in her practice; food, assortments from dollar stores, and given objects, to illustrate her want to care for people. Her heritage and childhood greatly influences her own work, as much of it is created from small memories or dreams she remembers from when she was young.
In the days before 11/9, fake news outperformed verifiable news on Facebook. Data analytics show millions of people clicked and shared links to unverified news “articles” in the weeks leading up to the recent presidential election.
Why would anyone create fake news? Some genuinely want to influence people into adopting political positions. For others, the production of outrage can be handily monetized as Facebook rewards clicks and shares, elevating them in its algorithm and funneling them into advertising dollars. All one needs is a willingness to push unverified content into the world without regard for the consequences. Paul Horner, a fake news "impresario," created many sensational fake news pages for clicks. He says he figured Trump supporters would fact-check his articles. They didn’t.
There is a safety that we take for granted in intellectual and cultural institutions – including at The Alice. There is a safety offered by legacy media, even as public awareness grows of structural bias and inequity within the institution. Through American history, there has come to be an expectation of respectability, credibility, neutrality, rigor and moderation in media. We trust that it will be responsible and thorough. Should we?
It has become very difficult to detect threats to our well-being. CLICKBAIT challenges our ideas of intellectual safety, as well as highlighting the role that design plays in distorting our sense of comfort.
Corinne Chin served as a creative consultant on this project.
Kevin Golden is a user experience designer, graphic designer and art director. He has previously worked for The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times where he received an Award of Excellence from the 36th Society for News Design competition and The Boston Globe where he was a member of the infographics team that contributed to the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News Reporting. He currently works as a volunteer designer for Kijani, as an art director for the New York City-based Beautiful Savage Magazine and as a coordinator for the Seattle Design Festival
Corinne Chin is a journalist and art educator. She earned a master of science in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School before having a Twitter account was an academic requirement.
Allison Kudla will be using Project Diana at The Alice as a test space to discover phototropic patterns in vertically planted seeds. The placement of the growing seeds will be in direct dialog with the architecture of the space. Throughout the day, large rectangular shapes of reflected light are cast onto the Project Diana wall by the above skylight, and the seeds will be carefully positioned on the wall just outside of these beams of light, potentially causing the sprouts to reach towards the reflected light. An experiment in phototropism vs. gravitropism, she wonders what impact this will have on the direction of the plants as they sprout, and hopes to create a mesmerizing pattern of tenacity as the seeds that survive extend and grow in their reach for light.
(images courtesy of the artist)
A commentary on the work of Robin Green
An essay by Krista Schoening with an introduction from Scott Lawrimore
Nothing. Everything—Beginning to Unfold the Double Sensations of Robin Green
–Scott Lawrimore, Director, Jacob Lawrence Gallery
Why only one song, one speech, one text at a time? –Luce Irigaray
I am honored to be writing an introduction to this new body of work by Seattle artist Robin Green. I will also try to provide a brief prolegomenon for the enclosed commentary on the work by the ever-incisive Krista Schoening.
Introducing Green is easy—she is a consummate artist producing dangerously precarious works that demand your whole body’s attention (like all fully-considered art does). Throughout the seven years I have been privy to the various wrinkles of her practice—I first became aware of it when I selected a painting for a juried show at a local art center in 2009—I have been impressed with her seriousness of purpose, work ethic, inquisitiveness, and ability to fearlessly discard the old for the new (while always allowing each to fold onto the other). The unfolding of her practice—changes to it as outlined by Schoening—has revealed warps and wefts—years of laying out threads of thought in one direction before coming back in the other with a different approaches, new techniques or in completely new media. It is commendable to see in her current body—“This is what I meant to say”—the threads coming together and the strength of weave becoming apparent.
The prolegomenon is a little harder—in the interest of word count, it has to remain as plicature. If Green gets to claim, “This is what I meant to say,” and we affirm that Schoening means what she writes, I have to admit that I have left a few “meant to say” wrinkles in my title and selected quote above for future critics, writers and art historians to uncrease. I woul
hope that your bodies sense that Green’s unique pictorial space and “tactile sense of vision” might warrant further study via Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology, especially his theories of the “chiasm” and the “double sensation.” And given Green’s exquisite folds and potentially fraught material choices, one might find Irigaray’s writings a potent way to approach the work beyond its flawless formal qualities. Green’s title for this exhibition also reminds me of this from Irigaray: “…if ‘she’ says something, it is not, it is already no longer, identical with what she means. What she says is never identical with anything […] if you ask [women] insistently what they are thinking about, they can only reply: Nothing. Everything.”
If you ask me insistently what I am thinking about when scrutinizing Green’s work, I can only reply: “Everything. Everything.”
Congratulations and thank you for everything, Robin.
A commentary on the work of Robin Green
by Krista Schoening
Looking out the window of an airplane, one observes human attempts at squaring off the earth's surface. Straight lines, the divisions of property ownership -- markers of a social organization with an aspiration toward neatness -- are interrupted by geology. Rivers break the neat shapes of state lines, rock outcroppings refuse to conform to linear constraints, and trees interrupt fence lines. Robin Green delights in making work that also gestures toward geometry but then defies it, producing a distortion that is more compelling (and more descriptive of reality) than perfect symmetry ever could be. It is not that Green wants to see order dissolved into chaos, but rather that she thrives in the space between the organized and the wild. Her work shows no interest in mastery, but rather demonstrates her commitment to process and open-ended questioning.
In “This is what I meant to say,” painted silks are fixed with magnets in dynamic attitudes across the faces of metal plates, forming a modified grid. The fabric bunches and creeps, resisting the geometry and related stability of the plate beneath. Metal gives a sense of stable structure, while the silks lend dynamism. Inspired in part by Robert Ryman’s white paintings, the work relates more broadly to minimalist ideas of formal exploration and subtle variation within repetition. Green’s work takes a modernist concept of order as a starting point, but it moves beyond this tendency, in the direction of entropy. The painted fabric of this piece seems like a canvas that has slid off its supports, resisting the rectangle, moving away. Green’s work makes visible the tension between a human desire for order and the complexity of reality. She uses forms and objects associated with orderliness -- the grid or objects from her kitchen for example -- and distorts them. Hers is a vision of the world that allows for, and even celebrates, the intractability of reality and the latent dynamism of things.
Robin Green is a researcher. The methodical nature of her visual experiments owes as much to her previous work with plant reproduction and evolution as it does to her artistic influences. The investigative spirit embodied within her activities is a central part of her character. Having spent years seeing the world through the lens of empiricism and reason, Green developed an expansive view. She worked within the ordering tendencies of empiricism, but loved that which escaped from the net of science. Her work also displays an interest in contrasts. Green often works in the places where divergent qualities confront each other: hard meets soft, rigid meets flowing, flat meets folded. Presenting herself with these oppositions, she explores their possibilities through her practice.
Her latest work grew from previous work, which took the form of still life drawings, made in a small space. In these earlier drawings, she sought a sense of imbalance -- or of balance that is just about to tip. At some point, she started drawing with her still life objects themselves. Pans from her kitchen and pieces of fabric resulted in intimate pieces, sculptural yet made with a painterly intention. Folding fabric reminded her of making brush strokes, and as she manipulated the fabric she felt liberated by the abstract qualities of cloth. Indeed, it is as though she has extended the agency and expressiveness traditionally attributed to the painterly mark to the canvas itself. In this piece, the paint works in the service of its fabric support, not the other way around. In addition, each kind of fabric that Green works with has a liveliness to it, and a particular sort of formal attitude. Specific fabrics respond to her and resist her in their own unique ways, moving from one tactile space to another, standing up against gravity but also draping under its influence. The organza in this piece has a delicacy, weightlessness (in contrast to the weight of the metal plates) and a particular sort of translucency. Green explores the possibilities of her materials, and plays them against gravity, seeing what they can do. The folded, wrinkled cloth breaks up the linearity of the metal, introducing a more humane line.
Green’s work participates in a fascination with draping and folding that has a long history, from ancient art through the obsessive drapery studies of Leonardo, the folded metal works of John Chamberlain, the mid-twentieth century works of Sam Gilliam (to name but a few high points), and into the contemporary. “This is what I meant to say” plays into the conversation with the work of many other contemporary artists who question the nature of a painting as a strictly 2-dimensional flat surface, either inside or outside a frame. The list is long and geographically wide, and includes Joy Curtis in Brooklyn, Jean Alexander Frater in Chicago, Jane Hugentober in Los Angeles, and Julie Alexander and Ben Gannon in Seattle. Each of these artists answers similar questions in very different ways. But like them, Robin Green subverts our expectations of what a painting should be.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve found myself immersed in the process of drawing: pencil, charcoal, and a lot of crayons. I appreciate the simplicity of materials and the directness of mark-making.
All of my work starts from observation and spins away from there. I’ve come to see observation as something that fluctuates over time and it has come to include duration, memory, sentiment, experience. Objects and places that I thought were static are fluid and changing. Landscapes that I
see every day shift and move each time I draw them.
I’m interested in space –walking through it, sitting in it, floating through it; where things are simultaneously an arm’s reach away and a mile in the distance; how the eye can easily blur these distinctions.
I’ve always thought about Seattle as a small town: big buildings surrounded by mountains, water, and trees. There is the bustle of people and cars and a short distance away there is silence and the solitude of nature. Sometimes these things are separate, sometimes they overlap. I feel like I fall somewhere in between, pulled simultaneously in both directions.
“The town and the city” also, just coincidentally, happens to be the name of Jack Kerouac’s first major published novel.
Michael Alan Lorefice is originally from Upstate New York, I graduated a long time ago with a B.A. from Colgate University and an M.F.A. from the Memphis College of Art.
I’ve exhibited my paintings, drawings, and videos in solo and group shows in museums and galleries across the United States including: Second Story Contemporary and the Memphis College of Art in Memphis, Tennessee; John F. Peto Studio Museum in Island Heights, New Jersey; Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock, Arkansas; Interstitial Theatre; The Wright Exhibition Space; Kirkland Arts Center; Pratt Fine Art Center; Ouch My Eye; South Seattle Community College, Seattle, to name a few.
In addition to being a past featured artist in New American Paintings, I’ve been an artist-in-residence at Arquetopia, Oaxaca, Mexico; the Saltonstall Foundation in Ithaca, New York and the Santa Fe Art Institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In recent years I’ve been heavily influenced by traditional and contemporary Mesoamerican art, and I’ve made six trips to Mexico in the past eight years to independently study and work in the country.
I also find that my teaching has strongly influenced the work that I make – I’m a Senior Lecturer and Adjunct Professor at Digipen Institute of Technology, teaching art history and drawing to B.F.A. students in game design and animation. In addition to this, I have taught studio art classes in drawing and painting at the Memphis College of Art and at Seattle-area art centers, including Gage Academy of Art; Kirkland Arts Center; and Pratt Fine Art Center.
This project, The Coalition, was born out of a desire to take control. As a woman of color living in Seattle, my body is used as a vessel built to contain narratives that were decided about me long before I existed, narratives born of the colonial white gaze. My skin and heritage, not being as polarizing or immediately political as the skin of my Hispanic and Black sisters, grants me access to a white world, where I am coveted as an exotic and cultured possession. Strangers approach me at openings, not to discuss my work, rather to discuss their own experiences with India and Indian culture, to discuss their love of my people, the girl they dated who looked like me. They are drawn to my mysterious otherness, the magical key that my people hold to spirituality and enlightenment.
But this pass as an object of desire into ‘liberal’ white circles comes at a price. My role is narrow, my
movements and opinions limited. My main objective is to listen, smile, and nod, and to carry my
brownness deep inside my body, where it is tucked away and can be forgotten. I am meant to bring it
out at the request of my white beholders, to appease and entertain them with small, digestible doses of my culture and ethnicity.
In this exchange, I receive the opportunities that come with my ability to move in white circles, and in
return, my white counterparts get to reinforce their beliefs that, through their acceptance of my brown
skin, they are as progressive as they claim to be, different than their parents, that they are, truly and
But I have seen the other side of this encounter. I have seen what happens when I do more than nod
and smile, when I begin to talk about my experiences, my culture, and my life in a way that does not
suit the white narrative. I have seen how quickly my exoticized body becomes a polarizing one — how
often my words, no matter how reasonable, are labeled as aggressive, judgmental, and of course,
‘racist.’ In arguments about brown bodies, my experience of having lived in one all my life is not seen
as a credential — it is seen as an emotional burden that blinds me from the white centric truth.
I have seen so many self-proclaimed white progressives take off their masks and become their
parents, their grandparents. I have seen them step out of their costumes and don the garb of their
legacy. People I have trusted. People I have loved. People who loved my colonized body back, but
people whose love quickly ran dry when faced with my radicalized mind.
This betrayal, every time it happens, no matter how often it happens, cuts deep. And just as their
desperation to cling to their power is their legacy, my pain is mine. And sometimes, I can’t help but
wonder if things were simpler, better, when I did not know the difference between the white gaze and
my own. When I was grateful to have access to white circles at all, grateful to have a role to play.
How simple would it be to let my tongue sit heavy in my mouth, my lips spread wide against my skin in
a close-mouthed smile. How easy would it be to demand and to want exactly what the white gaze
gives me. How painless would it be to be an object that is looked at, talked around, but ultimately
The Coalition is an attempt to find out.
--Satpreet Kahlon, 2016
Satpreet Kahlon is an artist and educator who is currently based in Seattle, WA. With two BFAs (one in Studio Art, the other in Art Education), Satpreet hopes to serve as an advocate for positive social change within her community, both as an artist and as an educator.
Her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally, including at Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, CA, the Stellenbosch Academy of Design and Photography in Cape Town, and Tipton Gallery in Johnson City, TN. She is currently the ArtBridge Fellow at Pratt Fine Arts Center, and has been the recipient of many awards, including a Windgate Fellowship to attend Penland School of Craft and an Individual Artist Grant from 4Culture.
She currently lives in Seattle, where she makes conceptually driven work, while simultaneously working as a teaching artist at the Seattle Art Museum.
“Processing uses methods of digital fabrication to form a composite self-portrait: inkjet prints of webcam stills, wallpaper frozen from captured animated drawings, text videos, and glass panels that interact with light to reveal their fine laser traces. The onscreen windows of my computer--through which I position myself in the world--are echoed on Project Diana's wall.
As an artist performing carefully curated images of my own body online through projects situated on PornHub.com and NewHive.com, the very public platform of the internet is oddly protective, safe and insulated. When experienced online, an image passes through the viewer with a click-through lifespan, then dies. By contrast, the community space of a gallery renders this same material much more vulnerable through its physical proximity, weight and longer lifespan. Processing is an experiment in that tension.”
Download Processing exhibition info PDF.
ELLIE DICOLA explores gender, embodiment, and processes of rigorous self-identification. Her background in sculpture has developed into a studio practice also encompassing video, performance, experimental poetics and online media formats. On camera, Dicola performs scripted rituals in her studio apartment, articulating dynamics of agency and futility, desire and refusal, and using her body as a site upon which contradictions play out. Perceived dichotomies are manifested through internal states and question the broader socio-political experience of being a woman in contemporary America. Her work has been described as 4th-wave feminist.
Natasha's Instructions: Fill in the blanks with DESCRIPTIVE words. Do not use real names, use your imagination and be creative! The Red Lineage is all about revealing the interconnected nature of humanity by employing the vehicle of metaphor. Be creative and succeed!
Natasha Marin's website: www.natasha-marin.com
Lisa's website: http://lisamellinger.net/home.html
Susanna Bluhm with Meadow Log, Teepee, Snow Scene (Pretend), Oil and acrylic on canvas, 60" x 144", 2015, Courtesy of G. Gibson Gallery
The name Project Diana comes from a 1946 NASA mission that projected radio waves into space. These waves broke through the ionosphere, echoed off the moon and then returned to Earth.