The Buffalo in the American Living Room

October 3, 2017 - January 13, 2018

Fritz Scholder (Luiseño / European, 1937 – 2005), was one of the 20th century’s most important and provocative artists. His abstracted figural style, iconoclastic imagery, and complicated legacy have influenced the work of several contemporary Northern Plains Native American artists, many of whom resist simple categorization, defy expectation, and navigate the duality of being Indigenous and a contemporary American artist. The Buffalo in the American Living Room: Fritz Scholder and Contemporary Native Art shares the work of Scholder along with several contemporary Native American artists. These artists’ humor, exploration of identity, and subversive subject matter channel Scholder’s radical spirit.

Born in Breckenridge, Minnesota in 1937, Fritz Scholder spent his early years living in Wahpeton, North Dakota, where his father worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. In 1950, Scholder‘s family relocated to Pierre, South Dakota, where Fritz’s high school art teacher was renowned Yanktonai Dakota artist Oscar Howe. He then moved to Sacramento, California with his family and he studied with Pop artist Wayne Thiebaud while earning an associate’s degree from Sacramento City College and a BA from Sacramento State College. He went on to receive an MFA from the University of Arizona and taught painting and contemporary art at the newly formed Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe from 1964-69. While teaching at IAIA, Scholder began painting his “Indian series,” declaring he wanted to “paint the Indian real, not red.” This series would propel the artist into international fame, and his celebrity would grow throughout the 1970s. He moved to New York City in the 1980s and continued to work as an artist for the remainder of his life.

Scholder’s career spanned five decades, and he was the recipient of five honorary degrees and numerous awards. Throughout this career, Fritz Scholder subverted and reimagined mainstream depictions of Native Americans, helping lay the groundwork for future artistic innovations.

  • Fritz Scholder, Indian Monster Chief (detail), 1972, Acrylic on canvas, On loan from Jo and Birch Burdick
  • Keith BraveHeart, To Clean the Buffalo, 2013, Acrylic on board
  • Jaune Quick-To-See Smith, Keeping America Green, 2003, Photolithograph

Other Exhibitions

Plains School of Abstract Painting Annual Exhibition

October 26, 2017 - January 20, 2018
Plains School of Abstract Painting

Since 2011, a group of emerging and professional artists has met weekly at the Plains Art Museum and our Katherine Kilbourne Burgum Center for Creativity for a painting class led by one of Fargo’s most prominent and ambitious abstract painters, Marjorie Schlossman.

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The Buffalo in the American Living Room

October 3, 2017 - January 13, 2018

Fritz Scholder (Luiseño / European, 1937 - 2005), was one of the 20th century’s most important and provocative artists. His abstracted figural style, iconoclastic imagery, and complicated legacy have influenced the work of several contemporary Northern Plains Native American artists.

View Exhibition

Conversation Pieces

June 29, 2017 - July 29, 2018
Selections from the Permanent Collection in Dialogue

Plains Art Museum is home to over 4,000 diverse national, regional and local works of art. Art communicates ideas and feelings between artists and viewers, but art pieces are also often in dialogue with other works of art.

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Recent Work by Hannaher’s, Inc. Print Studio

August 24, 2017 - January 6, 2018
Recent Work by Hannaher’s, Inc. Print Studio

Plains Art Museum is one of the few art museums in the U.S. to have a prominent and dynamic print studio. This exhibition highlights the experimentation that has happened in Hannaher’s, Inc. Print Studio from October 2016 to present.

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Honor the Earth

November 9, 2017 - November 27, 2017
Art of Indigenous Resistance

Art of Indigenous Resistance is produced by Honor the Earth. A unique national Native initiative, Honor the Earth has worked to raise public awareness of grassroots Native environmental groups for 31 years.

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