Out Of Many: Religious Pluralism in America
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The four examples of artists and art events outlined above exemplify some of the critical issues of the category of the “Other” in studying Native American art and the ways in which art and identity intersect in the art market place. Some of the central questions proposed to the students are: what kinds of people hold the power to define what constitutes “real” art and what constitutes “Native American art”; what constitutes legitimate ownership;  how are individual pieces categorized as art or (religious) artifact; and how “Native American” must an artist be in order to legitimately profit from that association? These issues of power and definition open into richer discussions of the authenticity, commodification, aesthetic norms, artistic and cultural identity, and contested meaning of art and religion in contemporary indigenous image-making for the students; the questions go beyond art history and could be used as fruitfully in courses on religion, history, and cultural identity.