New York

T. C. Cannon, Two Guns Arikara, 1973–77, oil and acrylic on canvas, 71 1⁄2 × 55 1⁄2".

T. C. Cannon, Two Guns Arikara, 1973–77, oil and acrylic on canvas, 71 1⁄2 × 55 1⁄2".

T. C. Cannon

National Museum of the American Indian | New York

The painter T. C. Cannon (1946–1978) was only thirty-one when he was killed in a car accident in Santa Fe, New Mexico, leaving behind a startlingly mature body of work that deserves wider recognition. Like that of many American Indians, his art has long been marginalized; this retrospective, curated by Karen Kramer, sought to remedy that injustice.

Some of the show’s earliest canvases were completed near the end of Cannon’s time at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, the tribal arts college established in 1962 that quickly became a hotbed for radical politics and avant-garde experimentation. Though these works tend towards abstraction, with various symbols, texts, and collaged photographs dispersed among washy patches of oil paint, Cannon makes his desire to grapple with the social and political realities of his people clear. D-Day Blues, 1966, includes a scribbled stanza

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