Bard Graduate Center Gallery is delighted to welcome Native Art Department International, a collaborative long-term project created and administered by Maria Hupfield and Jason Lujan, who will take up residence on the fourth floor of the Bard Graduate Center Gallery from March 1 until July 7. During their residency, they will turn their studio space into a television set where they will shoot a program titled Everything Sacred is Far Away: The Franz Boas Episodes dramatizing sequences from the life of anthropologist Franz Boas, the subject of the spring exhibition The Story Box: Franz Boas, George Hunt and the Making of Anthropology.

This series of video work is modeled after the 1970-80s NYC downtown art scene involving experimental videography, in particular the shows Potato Wolf TV and Zany Talk Show. The format and style used recalls an intent whereby creativity, comradery, and free expression are prioritized over production values and narrative; the strengthening of art community and community based networks. By involving local artists and colleagues as both crew and talent, the video works present Native content and perspectives while avoiding well-worn essentialist expectations. Using a scratch built set and props made to suggest Boas’ environs, various scenes re-imagine Boas as he navigates human relations and the social context of the time towards the aim of contemporary understanding of intercultural interaction and collaborative practices.

As each “episode” is completed, it will be placed for viewing within the exhibition; currently three are planned.

1. Problems and Merits of Cultural Relativism

2. Here is Creative Writing

3. Untitled poetry and guitar episode

Native Art Department International is a Brooklyn-based collaborative project of the wife-and-husband pair of artists Maria Hupfield (b. 1975) and Jason Lujan (b. 1971). Together they curate group exhibitions in which they sometimes show and occasionally make work together as a way to counter the pigeonholing of contemporary art by Native Americans and people of First Nations descent.

Based in Brooklyn New York, Maria Hupfield is an interdisciplinary artist and a member of the Anishinaabek Nation from Wasauksing First Nation, Ontario, Canada. Her recent traveling solo exhibition The One Who Keeps on Giving opened the 30th anniversary season of The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto in partnership with Galerie de l’UQAM, Montréal; Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery, Halifax; and Canadian Cultural Centre, Paris. She is the first Indigenous artist in residence at ISCP in Brooklyn, and her upcoming solo exhibition at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, opens in December 2019.

Jason Lujan is originally from Marfa, Texas. His multidisciplinary work sidesteps labels of Native American identity to focus on transnational experiences and aesthetics. Lujan has recently exhibited at the Heard Museum, Phoenix, Arizona; National Museum of the American Indian, New York, NY; Curitiba Biennial, Brazil; and I Bienal Continental de Artes Indígenas Contemporáneas at the Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares in Mexico City, Mexico. He curates and co-organizes exhibitions and is a board chair at the New York City arts nonprofit ABC No Rio.