Elizabeth Hutchinson presented at the Indigenous Arts in Transition Seminar on Wednesday, October 21, 2015, from 6 to 7:30 pm. Her talk was entitled “Messages Across Time: Inupiaq Drawings from the 1890s.”

Dr. Hutchinson’s talk at Bard Graduate Center derived from an exhibition at Columbia University mounted with graduate students featuring drawings by Inupiaq artists working closely with missionaries. The talk focused on a set of ten drawings made by Inupiaq students at a U.S. Indian school in Wales, Alaska in the 1890s that depict the Messenger Feast, a ceremonial that remains important in northwestern Alaska today. In Spring 2014, graduate students at Columbia University conducted research on the community of Wales and the dance festival that is depicted in the drawings, contributing the information to an exhibition of the drawings that opened on campus and online in September. Dr. Hutchinson’s presentation provided an analysis of the works and a reflection on the significance of displaying them in a space so far removed from the time and place of their creation. As she argues, the drawings, which are part of Columbia’s Bush Collection of Religion and Culture, are implicated in a long history of the University’s problematic but meaningful engagement with material culture as the site of scholarly inquiry and transcultural intellectual exchange.

Elizabeth Hutchinson is Associate Professor of American Art History and Chair of the First Year Seminar program at Barnard College, Columbia University. She previously taught at the University of New Mexico. Dr. Hutchinson holds a PhD in Art History from Stanford University. She is the author of The Indian Craze: Primitivism, Modernism and Transculturation in American Art, 1890-1915 (Duke University Press, 2009) and numerous articles and essays including, most recently, “Taos and its other Neighbors: intertribal visiting in Taos School painting,” (for the forthcoming BYU/Stark Museum catalog Branding the West), “Osceola’s Calicoes” (in the anthology Global Trade and Visual Arts in Federal New England (University Press of New England, 2014)), “From Pantheon to Indian Gallery: art and sovereignty on the early nineteenth century cultural frontier” (Journal of American Studies, May 2013). She is the recipient of fellowships from, among other places, the ACLS, the NEH, and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and has been granted several teaching awards. Dr. Hutchinson is currently working on a variety of projects related to the visual culture of Native American/non-Native cultural exchange in both the Federal period and the 1970s.