Game of Puppets


March 2–6, 2016

New York, 10036, USA

Booth D06



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Pierre-Francois Ouellette art contemporain is pleased to present works by Kent Monkman at the invitational solo project fair VOLTA NY. Monkman's diverse practice will be presented in the form of new video works and studies from previous bodies of work. The new video works in particular augment the depth of theme and persona in Monkman's representations of indigenous roles across several colonialist ages. These "video paintings" incorporate performance, storytelling, and art-historical innuendo - with painted backgrounds where live-action characters interact and exist indefinitely.

In his series of four video paintings, Kent Monkman explores historical precedents and themes of First Nations peoples in Europe. Since the arrival of Europeans in the Americas, Indigenous peoples traveled to Europe as embassadors for their own people, captives, performers and as specimens for human zoos, popular in the 19th century. Both Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show and George Catlin’s Gallery of the North American Indian featured Native American performers. Monkman constructs a back story for Miss Chief who began her own career as an artist and performer with her nemesis George Catlin before launching her own Taxonomy of the European Male. The Emergence of Legend photo series touches on this mythology.


Kent Monkman is a Canadian artist of Cree ancestry who works with a variety of mediums, including painting, film/video, performance, and installation. He has had solo exhibitions at numerous museums including the Musée d'art contemporain de Rochechouart, France, the Montreal Museum of Fine Art, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art and at the Gardiner Museum in Toronto, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, the Woodlands Cultural Centre, the Art Gallery of Hamilton and the Art Gallery of the University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities. He has participated in various group exhibitions including Shapeshifting: Transformations in Native American Art at Peabody Essex Museum, The American West at Compton Verney, in Warwickshire, England, Remember Humanity at Witte de With, Rotterdam, the 2010 Sydney Biennale, My Winnipeg at Maison Rouge, Paris, Oh Canada! at MASS MOCA, Palm Springs Art Museum and Denver Art Museum. Monkman has created site specific performances at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, the Denver Art Museum, The Royal Ontario Museum and at Compton Verney. He has also made Super 8 versions of these performances which he calls “Colonial Art Space Interventions.” His work is represented in numerous public and private collections including the National Gallery of Canada, Musée d'art contemporain de Rochechouart (France), Musée des beaux-art de Montréal, Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, Art Gallery of Ontario, Museum London, Woodland Cultural Centre, The Glenbow Museum, Indian Art Centre, Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Mackenzie Art Gallery, the Art Bank of the Canada Council, Smithsonian/National Museum of the American Indian, Vancouver Art Gallery, Fondation de la Maison Rouge(Paris), Rideau Hall (Ottawa), The Logan Collection/Denver Art Museum and Hart House/University of Toronto.

The Gallery thanks the Canada Council for the Arts for its support.


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Player   Monkman
Study for Birth of a Nation
acrylic on board
61 x 91.4 cm (24" x 36")
  Bull in a China Shop
Hand painted earthenware
48.3 x 48.3 x 22.9 cm (19" x 19" x 9")
edition of 10

Monkman   The Immoral Woman
HD monitor, file on SD card, Media player, Wall mount
6:37m, framed 117 cm (46")
edition of 5

A young cardinal is tempted by Miss Chief Eagle Testickle in St. Peter’s Square. Representing the plural sexuality and gender variance (two spirit traditions) of the Americas, Miss Chief tests the mores and hypocrisy of the Christian mantra - Let he who is without sin cast the first stone…Source painting: View of the Colonnade, St. Peter’s Square in Rome by C.W. Eckersberg (1813-16)

Monkman   The Transfiguration
HD monitor, file on SD card, Media player, Wall mount
4:23m, framed 117 cm (46")
edition of 5

Miss Chief Eagle Testickle’s chauffeur escorts her from the backseat of her limousine to a Cubist figure lying prone on the road in front of the vehicle. Miss Chief shows compassion for the less fortunate and downtrodden by kneeling down to offer her care to the butchered female nude. When Miss Chief learns that the sculpture has already passed, she performs a smudging ceremony. To her amazement, the spirit rises from the body and ascends into the heavens as fully beautiful angel. Source painting: View of the Forum in Rome by Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg (1814)

Monkman   The Human Zoo
HD monitor, file on SD card, Media player, Wall mount
5:05m, framed 117 cm (46")
edition of 5

Exuberant showman George Catlin has staged part of his gallery on the street in a German city. He announces that a grand performance will soon begin and urges the townspeople to gather around. An unimpressed Miss Chief Eagle Testickle refuses to ready herself for the performance as Catlin begins to drum for her Corn Dance. Catlin nudges her out of her fur coat and pressures her to begin her performance. She reluctantly begins her dance but becomes increasingly more enthusiastic and energized by the applause of the delighted audience who cheer and toss coins into Catlin’s top hat. When the dance concludes, Catlin collects the coins, giving nothing to Miss Chief as she resentfully puts her fur coat back on. Source painting: Rear view of the Houses at Schloßfreiheit by Eduard Gaertner (1855)
German: Ansicht der Rückfront der Häuser an der Schloßfreiheit

Monkman   The Symposium
HD monitor, file on SD card, Media player, Wall mount
3:24 m, framed 46”
edition of 5

Miss Chief paints a young adonis who stands before her, removing his toga to reveal more of his muscular physique. Four young men surround them, eating and drinking wine, reading and carousing against a rolling landscape of ancient ruins. The Symposium is Miss Chief’s homage to the classical artistic, aesthetic, and philosophical traditions of ancient Greece. Source painting: The Erechteion on the Acropolis, Athens by Lancelot-Theodore Turpin de Crisse (1805)

Monkman   Monkman   Monkman   Monkman
The Academy
etching and aquatint on paper
34.25 x 49.5 cm (13.5" x 19.5")
edition of 75
  My Treaty is With the Crown
etching and aquatint on paper
34.25 x 49.5 cm (13.5" x 19.5")
edition of 75
  Study for 'The Death of Hyacinthus' (1)
watercolour and gouache on paper
38.1 x 27.9 cm (15" x 11")
  Brave on a Horse
acrylic on canvas
35.6 x 27.9 cm (14" x 11")


- Kent Monkman's website
- Kent Monkman's page on the PFOAC website


click here to download the artist's recent C.V. (02/2014)