The National Museum of the American Indian has in recent years undertaken an ambitious program of acquiring and exhibiting significant works by Native contemporary artists. Vantage Point presents highlights from this young but growing collection, with pieces by 25 artists working across a range of media.

These recent acquisitions have come to NMAI since 2003 through selective museum purchases and generous gifts from artists and collectors. Contemporary art enriches the museum’s collection, speaks to our commitment to presenting the creative expression of contemporary Native people, and enhances our ability to address the concerns and experiences of Native peoples today. NMAI’s contemporary collection is united by its quality, substance, and sense of purpose. These emerging, mid-career, and established artists have something to say and do so eloquently, each from an informed and personal vantage point.

Although many of the works in this exhibition resist categorization, they are organized around four broad themes—Cultural Memory and Persistence, Landscape and Place, Personal Memory and Identity, and History and the Contemporary Urban Experience. This framework is intended as a point of entry for some of the key and frequently overlapping issues these complex and richly layered works explore.

Vantage Point: The Contemporary Native Art Collection

The National Museum of the American Indian
NMAI on the National Mall | Washington, DC