An Incomplete History of Protest Audio Guide Playlist
“I make revolutionary art to propel history forward. I’m a visual artist.”
Hear directly from artists including Dread Scott, Senga Nengudi, and Hock E Aye VI Edgar Heap of Birds as they discuss their work in An Incomplete History of Protest: Selections from the Whitney’s Collection, 1940–2017. Listen to additional commentary from curators on selected highlights from the exhibition.
Hock E Aye VI Edgar Heap of Birds: This is Hock E Aye VI Edgar Heap of Birds.
The language in that piece, the drawing, is very direct and simple. I don't know if it's inflammatory, but it's very expressive, even the gesture of the pastel. I draw so aggressively that I break the pastel and it busts across the room, and at one point I made about 300 drawings and actually I tore one of my ligaments in my arm. I had to quit making those drawings, change up my art practice. It was very aggressive gesture that I felt was appropriate for the message.
Narrator: Heap of Birds is enrolled in the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes, and is a leader of the traditional Cheyenne Elk Warrior Society.
Hock E Aye VI Edgar Heap of Birds: To relocate and destroy is a violent act, and certainly to relocate Native people or people in a community of some kind, it can be racial, political, any kind of reason.
The Cheyenne were relocated out of the north part of America to the southern part of America, to Oklahoma where we live today, and then the chiefs and warriors were taken to prison in St. Augustine, Florida. Some died in prison, then they were brought back to the reservation. So this kind of containment, capture, relocation, destruction, all that's part of what happened with the Jewish people in Germany and elsewhere, Poland, all over Europe in World War II. I found there to be a very similar experience: to relocate is the first step, then destroy is the second step.
Edgar Heap of Birds (b. 1954), Relocate Destroy, In Memory of Native Americans, In Memory of Jews, 1987, from the series American Policy. Pastel on paper, 22 × 29 13/16 in. (55.9 × 75.7 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Dorothee Peiper-Riegraf and Hinrich Peiper 2007.91
- 601 Dread Scott, A Man Was Lynched by Police Yesterday, 2015
- 610 Toyo Miyatake, Untitled (Opening Image from Valediction), 1944
- 611 Ad Reinhardt, Abstract Painting, 1960-1966
- 620 The Black Emergency Cultural Coalition and Black Artist’s Correspondence
- 621 Senga Nengudi, Internal I, 1977
- 630 War Posters
- 631 Edward Kienholz, The Non War Memorial, 1970
- 650 AA Bronson, Felix Partz, June 5, 1994, 1994/1999
- 660 Carl Pope, Some of the Greatest Hits of the New York City Police Department: A Celebration of Meritorious Achievement in the Community, 1994
- 662 Hock E Aye VI Edgar Heap of Birds, Relocate Destroy, In Memory of Native Americans, In Memory of Jews, 1987
- 670 Daniel Joseph Martinez, Divine Violence, 2007