5:23 PM EDT, October 2, 2013
As formulas for a show go, this is proving to be a winner: The Field Museum has once again let an artist plunder its store of artifacts, and the result, again, is a pretty magical "small" exhibition.
In the same main-floor gallery where last year fashion designer Maria Pinto showed her wares alongside garments she liked from the museum's collection, the Field presents "Bunky Echo-Hawk: Modern Warrior," a pop, political and historical journey into the Pawnee artist's cultural vision.
So the 38-year-old Echo-Hawk, who lives in Pawnee, Okla., presents a stunning, star-spangled Ghost Dance dress, worn for the late 19th-century rituals that offered American Indians a kind of desperate hope, next to his new painting of a Pawnee woman in her modern kitchen, wearing the dress as she empties a dishwasher that contains the handmade buffalo-horn spoons we see elsewhere in the exhibit.
"Her lifestyle has changed to one of convenience," Echo-Hawk said, in town for the opening last week. "She's kind of mourning that transition."
Similarly, he said, finding handmade paint pouches that earlier Pawnee artists would use made him reflect on how he just buys his paint in disposable tubes, without connection to its manufacture. Also on hand: Perhaps his most famous painting, of Yoda in a headdress.
Through September 2014 at the Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive; fieldmuseum.org
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