Press Release

May 12: An Indigenous Perspective Expands Dialogue about Democracy as History Colorado Presents Live, Online Conversation with Artist Gregg Deal

h-co.org/art | #HistoryColorado

May 5, 2021 (DENVER)  —  Internationally renowned painter and performance artist Gregg Deal (Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe) presents Art and Democracy on Wednesday, May 12 at 7 pm MDT.

PRESS CONTACT
John Eding, Communications & PR Manager
303-866-3670 | john.eding@state.co.us

An opportunity to hear directly from one of the most influential Indigenous voices in American contemporary art and public dialogue, this live, online conversation complements an exhibition of Deal’s work currently on view at the History Colorado Center through July 31. It is proudly presented by History Colorado’s acclaimed election-year speaker series, This Is What Democracy Looks Like. More information and tickets ($5–15) are available via h-co.org/lectures and the event page at h-co.org/art.

After an introduction set to punk rock—a genre and style that informs Deal’s aesthetic, methods, and subject matter—Deal will discuss his current exhibition at the History Colorado Center, “Merciless Indian Savages”, which takes its name from words in the Declaration of Independence. A question and answer session with audience members will follow. Participants can expect to hear powerful, direct responses to such questions as: What does American Democracy mean to a person whose ancestors were insulted in its founding document? What does it mean to communicate an Indigenous message, when to do so effectively means to speak through filters of capitalism, nationalism, and mainstream American society? How does an Indigenous person stay true to their identity while participating in a culture that has historically stereotyped them?

“I am working under the premise of, what does contemporary Indigenous art look like when it is not informed by a Western buyers’ market?”, Deal told a Boulder audience in 2018. “I do a lot with history and historical consideration and I also do a lot of critical thinking...I stand here as a protest of the policies that were put upon Indigenous people. I stand here in spite of those things. I am my grandparents’ greatest dreams that were never supposed to come true.”

Image credits: Artist Gregg Deal. Photo: courtesy of the artist; Guests view work by Gregg Deal at the History Colorado Center. Photo: History Colorado

About Gregg Deal
Gregg Deal (Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe) is a contemporary artist who challenges Western perceptions of Indigenous people, touching on issues of race, history, and stereotypes. He was Native Arts Artist-in-Residence at the Denver Art Museum in 2015–2016 and Artist-In-Residence at UC Berkeley in 2017–2018. Deal has lectured widely at prominent educational institutions and museums, including the Denver Art Museum, Dartmouth College, Columbia University, and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.

About the Speaker Series
Part of an ambitious election-year initiative, History Colorado’s 2020–2021 speaker series aims to be as multi-dimensional, provocative, and participatory as democracy itself. It leads a host of programs at History Colorado, such as the Borderlands Speaker Series, that have drawn an enthusiastic, increased following during the Covid-19 pandemic. Spiritual leader Amanda Henderson concludes the series on Thursday, June 10. All events take place online in a live, interactive format. Tickets and complete details are available at h-co.org/lectures.      

The This Is What Democracy Looks Like Speaker Series is supported by:

Walter S. Rosenberry III Charitable Trust  | Abarca Family Foundation | Richard and Mary Lyn Ballantine | Peter and Rhondda Grant | George and Mary Sissel | Donors to the Executive Director's Innovation Fund | Donors to the Women’s Vote Centennial

About History Colorado
History Colorado is a division of the Colorado Department of Higher Education and a 501(c)3 non-profit that has served more than 75,000 students and 500,000 people in Colorado each year. It is a 142-year-old institution that operates Colorado’s oldest museum, nine additional museums and historic sites, a free public research center, the Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, and the History Colorado State Historical Fund (SHF), which is the nation’s largest preservation program of its kind. The SHF currently administers more than 280 grants across Colorado, of which more that 70% are allocated in rural areas. The History Colorado Center is the nation’s first state history museum to display a monument toppled last summer with new, inclusive interpretation.

In the spirit of healing and education, we acknowledge the 48 contemporary tribes with historic ties to the state of Colorado. These tribes are our partners. We consult with them when we plan exhibits; collect, preserve, and interpret artifacts; do archaeological work; and create educational programs. We recognize these Indigenous peoples as the original inhabitants of this land.

History Colorado’s mission is to create a better future for Colorado by inspiring wonder in our past. We serve as the state’s memory, preserving and sharing the places, stories, and material culture of Colorado through educational programs, historic preservation grants, collecting, outreach to Colorado communities, the History Colorado Center and Stephen H. Hart Research Center in Denver, and nine other museums and historic attractions statewide. History Colorado is one of only six Smithsonian Affiliates in Colorado. Visit HistoryColorado.org, or call 303-HISTORY, for more information.