Authenticity in the Contemporary Age

In the essay I most recently read, I was struck my the recurrent themes that appear as my class works it way through learning different aspects of confronting Otherness. In Jean Fisher’s essay, “In search of the ‘Inauthentic’: Disturbing Signs in Contemporary Native American Art” many issues, such as deciphering the gaze of the curator and the viewer, the bias of a curator on a particular exhibition, but most importantly, being aware of how all cultures are compared to the “standard” or “normal” Euro-American art world when being put on display. Because¬†America was taken from its native people by Europeans, Native Americans are still having to pay the price of “authenticating” their own, contemporary art in a Western world that views their work as lesser, separate, and different from the masterpieces of art. These assumptions and views are simply not true, as can be seen in the Artsy article by Isaac Kaplan titled “Native American Artists Shift Narrative of Standing Rock Protest”. Here, several artists of Native American descent use varying mediums use art to capture the contemporary emotions and connect with the people who live there, giving themselves voice and confirming the authenticity our Westernized art world thinks they need.


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