Most Serene Republics
June 6, 2007–September 30, 2007
Drawing on language and history, Edgar Heap of Birds's installations, prints, paintings, and drawings explore the often contested relationships between non-Indian historical accounts and Native memory, and the negotiated alterity of the contemporary Native experience. The Cheyenne/Arapaho artist (b. 1954) is perhaps best known for his public art installations, which—employing the framework of official signage—engender a dialogue between place, history, and a sometimes unsuspecting audience.
Most Serene Republics refers to Heap of Birds's interest in the creation of republics or nation-states through acts of aggression, displacement, or replacement of populations and cultures. Two temporary public installations of signage in Venice, Italy, seek to engage Venetians, passing tourists, and members of the international art community who temporarily occupy this unique place, steeped in its multifaceted history.