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“I credit some of it to the Talking Heads. We were all disciples of the Talking Heads at that time [in graduate school]. David Byrne used a lot of three-word phrases like ‘stop making sense.’ On a formal level, that phraseology and cadence fascinated me. So I used to make little notes to myself, with a few words or short phrases. I hung these notes on the wall, and later I realized I could make bigger pieces out of them in pencil and pastel […] Later I was shown a process called viscosity printing, which I really enjoy. I write out words backward in oils of various grades that cut the ink in different ways […] The ink’s blood red, so they look like a crime scene when blood pools up on a flat surface."
“First I write a note, sometimes in my phone, and then I put them on a vellum piece of paper in my studio and rework it. Then, when I’m getting ready to go to the print studio, I would have three-word phrases and put two of them together, so I would have a total of six words. Then I put them on to a newsprint, and I put the newsprint over on the light table, so I’m actually painting on a clear plate of glass with a clear liquid, doing a monoprint. I’m ghosting all my prints now, and I intend to hang them like this to talk about loss. The ghosts are Native citizens today. We’re what’s left from the massacres”. Click to read the entire interview with Sheila Regan
The term “active shooter” is one we hear all too often in today’s media. Artist, activist, and teacher Hock E Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds uses this very contemporary phrase to characterize massacres committed by US troops against Native Americans in the 1800s. Culling language fragments from a wide range of sources, Heap of Birds transforms them through printmaking in a process that is both spiritual and material. The results offer commentary on the violence of history as well as ongoing acts of oppression against Native communities. For this month’s New to MoMA, Heap of Birds discusses how his poetic process of wordplay and printmaking pays homage to “the ghosts of a whole culture.” Click to view the video interview with curators Ruba Katrib and Esther Adler