Via The New Yorker, July 4, 2022
In town with some summer hours to spare? Visit “Dakota Modern: The Art of Oscar Howe,” the overdue retrospective of a remarkable Yanktonai Dakota painter, who died in 1983, at the age of sixty-eight. The show graces the always enthralling New York branch of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, housed in the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House—a prodigy of Beaux-Arts architecture by Cass Gilbert, from 1907—hard by Battery Park. It’s admission-free. Too few attend. (Some days, you may have the place and its spectacular collection of Native American art and artifacts almost to yourself, except for the occasional school group.) Howe is a frequently misunderstood American master. He bridged ethnic authenticity and internationalist derring-do, though condescension from establishment institutions and proprietary tribute from some sectarian advocates have hindered his recognition as a straight-up canonical modernist. Really, go see.