Princeton University Art Museum Premieres Native America: In Translation

Exhibition exploring the relationship between photography and Native representation opens February 5

Martine Gutierrez, Queer Rage, Dear Diary, No Signal During VH1’s Fiercest Divas, from the series Indigenous Woman, 2018. Courtesy of the artist and RYAN LEE Gallery, New York. © Martine GutierrezPrinceton, NJ—A new exhibition debuting February 5 at the Princeton University Art Museum gathers work by Indigenous artists who consider the complex histories of colonialism, identity, and heritage. The exhibition spans a diverse array of intergenerational practitioners, offering new perspectives by artists who re-imagine what it means to be a citizen in North America today. Native America: In Translation features works by Rebecca Belmore, Jacqueline Cleveland, Martine Gutierrez, Duane Linklater, Guadalupe Maravilla, Kimowan Metchewais, Alan Michelson, Koyoltzintli, and Marianne Nicolson. It will be on view at the Princeton University Art Museum’s Art on Hulfish gallery, located in downtown Princeton, from February 5 through April 24, 2022.

Native America: In Translation is curated by Wendy Red Star, a Portland, Oregon–based artist raised on the Apsáalooke (Crow) reservation. The exhibition is organized by Aperture Foundation, New York, and extends Red Star’s work as guest editor of the Fall 2020 issue of Aperture magazine [].

“The Museum’s new photo-focused gallery space, Art on Hulfish, is an ideal venue in which to examine how this cohort of both leading and emerging artists traces the complexities of the past and embraces their future,” said James Steward, Nancy A. Nasher–David J. Haemisegger, Class of 1976, Director.

In the exhibition, artists from throughout what is now called North America—representing various Native nations and affiliations—offer diverse visions that build on histories of image-making. This includes Kimowan Metchewais’s meditative assemblages and Polariod collages, which pursue a “self-made Native Imagery;” evocative installation works by Alan Michelson that investigate colonial histories; Koyoltzintli’s speculative mythologies, which document imperiled Indigenous oral traditions; and Guadalupe Maravilla’s fictional and autobiographical narratives. Martine Gutierrez’s high-fashion self-portraits present a revolving roster of interchangeable, often Indigenous, identities that ask what makes a “Native-born woman,” while Rebecca Belmore’s photographs comment on labor and the environment and confront the pain of state violence against Indigenous people. Jacqueline Cleveland recounts foraging as a form of knowledge transmitted through family rituals tied to the seasons of her coastal Alaskan village. Marianne Nicolson’s photographs use forms of light to tell stories about community, the impacts of capitalism, and the ongoing tension felt by Indigenous peoples in relation to settler colonialism

Some of the artists are propelled by what the historian Philip J. Deloria describes as “Indigenous indignation”—a demand to reckon with eviction from ancestral lands—while others translate varied inflections of gender and language, as well as the impacts of climate change, into inventive performance-based imagery or investigations into personal and public archives.

“The ultimate form of decolonization is through how Native languages form a view of the world,” Red Star notes. “These artists provide sharp perceptions, rooted in their own cultures.”

A lineup of related programs invites visitors to explore the exhibition more deeply:

  • On Thursday, February 3, a live Curator Talk with Wendy Red Star will be held over Zoom. Red Star will provide an overview of the project and a consideration of how the selected artists engage with photography and film in their work.
  • On Saturday, February 5, an exhibition opening celebration will be held at Art on Hulfish. Learn more about the art on view with Museum Director James Steward, Chief Curator Juliana Ochs Dweck, and Bryan R. Just, Peter Jay Sharp, Class of 1952, Curator and Lecturer in the Art of the Ancient Americas.
  • On Thursday, March 17, Alan Michelson—a Mohawk member of the Six Nations of the Grand River—will join Christopher Green, visiting assistant professor of Art History at Lake Forest College. They will discuss Michelson’s recent work, including the photo and video installations highlighted in the exhibition.

Art on Hulfish showcases a roster of exhibitions led by photography that consider issues of profound impact on twenty-first-century life. Located in downtown Princeton, it encompasses some 5,500 square feet of space for exhibitions and for public programming, ranging from drop-in activities to scheduled work with artists. Admission is free. The gallery will present four exhibitions each year until late 2024, when the Museum’s new building designed by Sir David Adjaye is projected to open.

Art on Hulfish is made possible by the leadership support of Annette Merle-Smith and by Princeton University. Generous support is also provided by John Diekman, Class of 1965, and Susan Diekman; William S. Fisher, Class of 1979, and Sakurako Fisher; J. Bryan King, Class of 1993; Christopher E. Olofson, Class of 1992; Barbara and Gerald Essig; Jim and Valerie McKinney; Nancy A. Nasher, Class of 1976, and David J. Haemisegger, Class of 1976; H. Vincent Poor, Graduate Class of 1977; the Curtis W. McGraw Foundation; and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional supporters include the Humanities Council, the Department of English, the Gender + Sexuality Resource Center, the Graduate School, and the Native American and Indigenous Studies Initiative at Princeton (NAISIP).

About the Princeton University Art Museum

            With a collecting history that extends back to 1755, the Princeton University Art Museum is one of the leading university art museums in the country, with collections that have grown to include more than 113,000 works of art ranging from ancient to contemporary art and spanning the globe. Committed to advancing Princeton’s teaching and research missions, the Art Museum also serves as a gateway to the University for visitors from around the world.

The main Museum building is currently closed for the construction of a bold and welcoming new building, designed in partnership with Sir David Adjaye and slated to open in late 2024.

Art on Hulfish, located at 11 Hulfish Street in Palmer Square in downtown Princeton, is open daily. Admission is free.

Please visit the Museum’s website for digital access to the collections, a diverse portfolio of virtual programs, and updates on opportunities to visit in person. The Museum Store in Palmer Square, located at 56 Nassau Street in downtown Princeton, is open daily, or shop online at

            More information:

# # #

Media Contacts:

Princeton University Art Museum
Gabrielle Langholtz

Blue Water Communications
Stephanie Miller