Scent of a Beaver
Scent of a Beaver

Mixed Media Installation - 2016

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The Rise and Fall of Civilization
The Rise and Fall of Civilization

Mixed Media Installation - 2015
Gardiner Museum
Photo: Jimmy Limit

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The Rise and Fall of Civilization
The Rise and Fall of Civilization

Mixed Media Installation - 2015
Gardiner Museum
Photo: Jimmy Limit

VIEW ALL

The Rise and Fall of Civilization
The Rise and Fall of Civilization

Mixed Media Installation - 2015
Gardiner Museum
Photo: Jimmy Limit

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The Rise and Fall of Civilization
The Rise and Fall of Civilization

Mixed Media Installation - 2015
Gardiner Museum
Photo: Jimmy Limit

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Casualties of Modernity
Casualties of Modernity

Mixed Media Installation - 2015
BMO Project Room
casualtiesofmodernity.com
Photo: Tony Hafkenscheid

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Casualties of Modernity
Casualties of Modernity

Mixed Media Installation - 2015
BMO Project Room
casualtiesofmodernity.com
Photo: Tony Hafkenscheid

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Bête Noire
Bête Noire

192 x 192 x 120 inches — 2014
Painted backdrop (acrylic on canvas)
Sculptural installation (mixed media)

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Bête Noire
Bête Noire

192 x 192 x 120 inches — 2014
Painted backdrop (acrylic on canvas)
Sculptural installation (mixed media)

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The Big Four
The Big Four

Multi Media Installation — 2013

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The Big Four
The Big Four

Multi Media Installation — 2013

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The Big Four
The Big Four

Multi Media Installation — 2013

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The Big Four
The Big Four

Multi Media Installation — 2013

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The Big Four
The Big Four

Multi Media Installation — 2013

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The Big Four
The Big Four

Multi Media Installation — 2013

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Lot's Wife
Lot's Wife

Multi Media Installation — 2012

Lot’s Wife, invoking the Biblical story of the woman who, despite divine threat of reprisal, turned back in her leave-taking for a final glance at Sodom, her former home. For her defiance, God turned her to a pillar of salt.

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Lot's Wife
Lot's Wife

Multi Media Installation — 2012

Lot’s Wife, invoking the Biblical story of the woman who, despite divine threat of reprisal, turned back in her leave-taking for a final glance at Sodom, her former home. For her defiance, God turned her to a pillar of salt.

VIEW ALL

Lot's Wife
Lot's Wife

Multi Media Installation — 2012

Lot’s Wife, invoking the Biblical story of the woman who, despite divine threat of reprisal, turned back in her leave-taking for a final glance at Sodom, her former home. For her defiance, God turned her to a pillar of salt.

VIEW ALL

Two Kindred Spirits
Two Kindred Spirits

Multi Media Installation — 2012

Based on similarities found between fictitious American and German buddy characters, Tonto and the Lone Ranger, and Winnetou and Old Shatterhand, this multi media installation explores male warrior/lover relationships found in the Greek myths of Achilles and Patrocles and Apollo and Hyacinthus.

VIEW ALL

Two Kindred Spirits
Two Kindred Spirits

Multi Media Installation — 2012

Based on similarities found between fictitious American and German buddy characters, Tonto and the Lone Ranger, and Winnetou and Old Shatterhand, this multi media installation explores male warrior/lover relationships found in the Greek myths of Achilles and Patrocles and Apollo and Hyacinthus.

VIEW ALL

Two Kindred Spirits
Two Kindred Spirits

Multi Media Installation — 2012

Based on similarities found between fictitious American and German buddy characters, Tonto and the Lone Ranger, and Winnetou and Old Shatterhand, this multi media installation explores male warrior/lover relationships found in the Greek myths of Achilles and Patrocles and Apollo and Hyacinthus.

VIEW ALL

The Art Game
The Art Game

Toronto International Art Fair — 2011
October 28-31st
Dimensions variable

Curated by Steven Loft, The Art Game is a life-size maze, constructed from booth walls identical to the Art Fair itself, takes the audience through an art world “funhouse.”

VIEW ALL

The Art Game
The Art Game

Toronto International Art Fair — 2011
October 28-31st
Dimensions variable

The meandering corridors are made more confusing with the use of double-sided mirrors, trick windows, and fake doors, forcing the audience into a challenging experience of disorientation and multiple choice – not unlike the real art world.

VIEW ALL

The Art Game
The Art Game

Toronto International Art Fair — 2011
October 28-31st
Dimensions variable

Dispersed throughout the maze are four “dioramas”, in the form of four small rooms, each one presenting the four key players in the Art Game: artist, curator/museum director, gallerist, and collector.

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The Art Game
The Art Game

Toronto International Art Fair — 2011
October 28-31st
Dimensions variable

Thank you to Art Toronto, Pierre-Francois Oulette Art Contemporain, Caviar20 and Ryerson Image Centre

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The Art Game
The Art Game

Toronto International Art Fair — 2011
October 28-31st
Dimensions variable

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The Art Game
The Art Game

Toronto International Art Fair — 2011
October 28-31st

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The Art Game
The Art Game

Toronto International Art Fair — 2011
October 28-31st
Dimensions variable

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The Collapsing of Time and Space in an Ever Expanding Universe
The Collapsing of Time and Space in an Ever Expanding Universe

Dimensions approx 21' x 14' x 16' — 2011
Life sized mannequin, antique furniture, paint, wallpaper, wood, taxidermied animals, audio

In a life-size museum diorama, the artist's alter ego Miss Chief, appears simultaneously in the past, present, and future as an aging diva alone in her Parisian apartment listening repeatedly to her one "hit" record - Dance to Miss Chief. Overcome with nostalgia, tears well up as she gazes longingly through a window at a sublime landscape - the trackless forests of her nubile youth but a distant memory.

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The Collapsing of Time and Space in an Ever Expanding Universe
The Collapsing of Time and Space in an Ever Expanding Universe

Dimensions approx 21' x 14' x 16' — 2011

Life sized mannequin, antique furniture, paint, wallpaper, wood, taxidermied animals, audio

VIEW ALL

The Collapsing of Time and Space in an Ever Expanding Universe
The Collapsing of Time and Space in an Ever Expanding Universe

Dimensions approx 21' x 14' x 16' — 2011
Life sized mannequin, antique furniture, paint, wallpaper, wood, taxidermied animals, audio

VIEW ALL

The Collapsing of Time and Space in an Ever Expanding Universe
The Collapsing of Time and Space in an Ever Expanding Universe

Dimensions approx 21' x 14' x 16' — 2011
Life sized mannequin, antique furniture, paint, wallpaper, wood, taxidermied animals, audio

VIEW ALL

The Atelier
The Atelier

Installed dimensions vary — 2011

The Atelier offers a glimpse into the creative process of contemporary artist Kent Monkman. Employing the idiom of the museum diorama, a section of the gallery is transformed into the corner of an artist's studio, complete with furniture, studies, drawings, reference materials, etchings, and artist's materials.

Over the past decade, Monkman's work has referenced classical traditions of art history, often quoting European artists from the 19th century whose subjects were indigenous people of North America.

VIEW ALL

The Atelier
The Atelier

Installed dimensions vary — 2011

With the help of his two-spirited alter-ego, Miss Chief Eagle Testickle, Monkman has reversed the gaze, turning the European Male into the subject, to challenge received notions of truth in art history, and current museological representations of First Nations cultures.

The setting of The Atelier, with antique furniture and vintage wallpaper captures the historical flavour of the 19th century, but as in the rest of Monkman's work, plays fast and loose with anachronisms, fact and fiction, and complicates ideas of what is authentic and historically correct.

VIEW ALL

The Atelier
The Atelier

Installed dimensions vary — 2011

Recently, Monkman has leveled his aim at the Western novels of 19th century German novelist Karl May, and the "Sauerkraut Westerns" inspired by his fictitious "Indian" hero Winnetou. May's novels spawned a fascination with Native American cultures in generations of Germans and Eastern Europeans that persist today in many forms including Indian Camps, where Europeans dress up, and play Indian during their summer vacations.

Dance to Miss Chief (2010), screening as part ofThe Atelier exhibition, uses the idiom of the music video to remix footage from German Westerns and from Monkman's seminal multi-channel video installation, Dance to the Berdashe (2008).

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My Treaty is With the Crown
My Treaty is With the Crown

Installed dimensions vary — 2011

My Treaty is With the Crown transforms the gallery into a camp of military tents in which the new “Canada” that emerges in the decisive battle of the Plains of Abraham between the British and the French armies (General Wolfe and Montcalm) is invaded by the presence of Miss Chief Eagle Testickle, Monkman’s alter ego.

Photo credit: Paul Litherland

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My Treaty is With the Crown
My Treaty is With the Crown

Installed dimensions vary — 2011

Hair as a symbol of power and its removal, as an act of humiliation and domination, is the thematic thread that runs through the environment created by the artist. The biblical allegory of Delilah’s betrayal of Samson is linked to the French battle with the English Crown, Miss Chief addresses the relationship of betrayal and treatment aboriginals have had with European colonizers.

Photo credit: Paul Litherland

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My Treaty is With the Crown
My Treaty is With the Crown

Installed dimensions vary — 2011

Photo credit: Paul Smith

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My Treaty is With the Crown
My Treaty is With the Crown

Installed dimensions vary — 2011

Photo credit: Paul Litherland

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Dance to the Berdashe
Dance to the Berdashe

Five-channel video installation — 2008

Dance to the Berdashe was inspired by a canvas of the same title by the American painter George Catlin (1796-1872) depicting a dance common among the Sauk and Fox nations, of warriors dancing around a Berdashe, visibly joyful and excited. In his memoirs, published in 1844, From Letters and Notes on the Manners, Customs, and Conditions of North American Indians, Catlin speaks of this ritual unsympathetically: “One of the most unaccountable and disgusting customs that I have ever met in the Indian country...and where I should wish that it might be extinguished before it be more fully recorded.”

Photo: Montreal Museum of Fine Art, Christine Guest

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Dance to the Berdashe
Dance to the Berdashe

Five-channel video installation — 2008

This video installation, composed of five large projections, offers a contemporary re-interpretation of a traditional Aboriginal ritual featuring the Berdashe, that special male figure whose gender-bending behaviour and very existence astonished and appalled many explorers of the American West.

Photo: Montreal Museum of Fine Art, Christine Guest

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Dance to the Berdashe
Dance to the Berdashe

Five-channel video installation — 2008

The Monkmanian version of this scene, displayed on five screens in the shape of buffalo hides, shows Miss Chief Eagle Testickle dancing the role of the Berdashe. The choreography, created by Canadian Cree actor, choreographer and dancer Michael Greyeyes, is based on both the traditional powwow and contemporary dance. The music, written by Toronto composer Phil Strong, is a free syncopated version of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, a modern masterpiece also inspired by ancient tribal rituals.

Photo: Montreal Museum of Fine Art, Christine Guest

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Dance to the Berdashe
Dance to the Berdashe

Five-channel video installation — 2008

The critic Barry Ace has written, “It is interesting to note that one of Catlin’s least regarded and perhaps more controversial image[s] would become one of [the] more meaningful works, despite being trapped for more than a century in monolithic stasis. Monkman has clearly released the spirit and intent of the dance, giving it new life.”

Photo: Montreal Museum of Fine Art, Christine Guest

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Dance to the Berdashe
Dance to the Berdashe

Five-channel video installation — 2008

Photo: Montreal Museum of Fine Art, Christine Guest

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Boudoir de Berdashe
Boudoir de Berdashe

Installation — 2007
The Triumph of Mischief
Touring exhibition

The Oxford English Dictionary defines the boudoir as a “small elegantly-furnished room, where a lady may retire to be alone, or to receive her intimate friends.” It derives from the French verb bouder, meaning to pout. The word Berdashe is thought to come from the Arab bardaj, or slave. The romantic languages adopted the word to mean catamite, or “a boy used for unnatural purposes” in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Ultimately it was used in North America to describe what we would today call an Aboriginal transvestite.

Photo: Edward Kowal

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Boudoir de Berdashe
Boudoir de Berdashe

Installation — 2007
The Triumph of Mischief
Touring exhibition

In Boudoir de Berdashe, Kent Monkman’s alter ego, Miss Chief Eagle Testickle, invites an audience to repose in her lavish quarters. Inside the velvet-lined tipi Victorian furniture, birch bark Louis Vuitton suitcases, a chandelier, a Hudson Bay blanket and a pair of her beaded platform moccasins, give guests entry into a personal space the Berdashe seems to have momentarily left behind. She is a storyteller and entertainer, and despite her absence, offers to her audienceShooting Geronimo, a silent film in which she stars as an androgynous and glamorous trickster. The film is viewed in stereo as a two-channel rear screen video projection on two of the tipi’s thirteen panels.

Photo: Walter Willems

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Salon Indien
Salon Indien

Installation — 2006
Remix: New Modernities in a Post-Indian World
Art Gallery of Ontario

Monkman draws on the facts of these events to create a screening gallery of his own, a turn-of-the-century movie theatre that intends to shock and entertain, just as Catlin did. The tipi-come-cinema lures its audience with a sophisticated appeal; inside a chandelier hangs amongst sweeping drapery in a soft glow of light and, on the floor, a stretched (simulated) buffalo hide plays two movies, Group of Seven Inches and Robin’s Hood.

Photo: John Goldstein

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Salon Indien
Salon Indien

Installation — 2006
Remix: New Modernities in a Post-Indian World
Art Gallery of Ontario

In 1895, the Lumières brothers’ Cinematographe, the world’s first movie projector, was first used for public film screenings in Paris at Salon Indien. Fifty-six years prior, George Catlin launched his Gallery of the North American Indian at Egyptian Hall in London: a tour he conducted through Europe with a live troupe of ”authentic“ Aboriginal people, a full scale Crow tipi and a vast collection of Aboriginal paraphernalia. Catlin’s ‘Indians’ performed ceremonial dances, and enacted various tableaux vivants furnishing him with a traveling circus that gave Europe a showcase of the “curious” but “dying” breed.

Photo: John Goldstein

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Dreamcatcher Bra
Dreamcatcher Bra

2007
Leather, string, beads
Approx. 13" x 10" x 6"

Also worn in performances by Miss Chief in Robin’s Hood, and Shooting Geronimo.


Photo: Brian Boyle

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Racoon Jockstrap
Racoon Jockstrap

2007
Racoon fur, silk
Approx. 14" x 10" x 6"

Fashioned from a raccoon hat once belonging to the late Toronto film critic Jay Scott, this jockstrap forms the lower half of a costume worn in a performance at the Drake Hotel in 2005. The costume “Trapper’s Bride” is a peignoir worn by Miss Chief in the painting of the same name.

Photo: Brian Boyle

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Louis Vuitton Quiver
Louis Vuitton Quiver

007
Cow leather, synthetics
Approx. 18" x 10" x 5" 

Monkman has used the Louis Vuitton brand to refer to social hierarchies and monopolies of class, power and wealth, established by trade among Europeans and Native Americans. Monkman has fashioned faux “Louis Vuitton” birch bark luggage (Boudoir de Berdashe), and an arrow quiver (Shooting Geronimo) that Miss Chief has worn in live performances and films.

Photo: Brian Boyle

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Beaded Moccasins
Beaded Moccasins

2007

These high heeled pumps were worn by Miss Chief in numerous films, videos and performances. They are also displayed as Miss Chief ’s personal effects inside Boudoir de Berdashe.

Photo: Brian Boyle

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Shapeshifters, Time Travellers, and Storytellers
Shapeshifters, Time Travellers, and Storytellers

Installation — 2007
Shapeshifters, Timetravellers, Storytellers
Institute for Contemporary Culture at the Royal Ontario Museum

Installation view: Beaded Moccasins, Dreamcatcher Bra, Raccoon Jockstrap, and Louis Vuitton Quiver.

Photo: Brian Boyle

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Tall Tails
Tall Tails

Installation — 2007
The Triumph of Mischief
Touring exhibition

Tall Tails is an installation with sound (music) that references Monkman’s performance work. Fashion, as a signifier of cultural change, is a recurring theme Monkman explores in various media. The costume on the mannequin is one of three successively larger and more outlandish headresses worn by Monkman (as Miss Chief) during the performance Séance.

Right-click to download ’Dance to Miss Chief (Dwayne Minard Cellout Remix).mp3‘

Photo: Walter Willems

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Théâtre de Cristal
Théâtre de Cristal

Installation — 2006
The Triumph of Mischief
Touring exhibition

The Théâtre de Cristal is what Monkman refers to as the champagne of tipis, the title recalls Cristal Champagne and, as insinuated, it effervesces with sparkle and elegance.

Photo: Guy L’Heureux

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Théâtre de Cristal
Théâtre de Cristal

Installation — 2006
The Triumph of Mischief
Touring exhibition

In over 150 North American Aboriginal cultures, the Berdashe, or village transvestite, was an accepted and often celebrated member of the tribe. Although the tradition has not been well documented (it is certain that in the case of George Catlin the lack of representation was deliberate), knowledge of its presence reveals a more complex understanding of Aboriginal and sexual identities.

Photo: Don Hall

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Théâtre de Cristal
Théâtre de Cristal

Installation — 2006
The Triumph of Mischief
Touring exhibition

The persona of Miss Chief challenges the authoritative version of history by playing the starring role in “period” photographs, romantic paintings and silent era films such as Group of Seven Inches and Robin’s Hood. Through this re-imaging of history, missing narratives are explored as Miss Chief subverts the authority of the artists who created images of Aboriginal people in the 19th century.

Photo: Walter Willems

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Théâtre de Cristal
Théâtre de Cristal

Installation — 2006
The Triumph of Mischief
Touring exhibition

In Group of Seven Inches, and Robin’s Hood she leaps back in time and rearranges the colonial story, composing an unexpected sequence of events. In both films she plays the part of an Aboriginal explorer, approaching European subjects with a removed curiosity. On the walls surrounding the Théâtre Miss Chief has borrowed from Paul Kane and George Catlin’s prose for musings on her subject, the European Male:

Photo: Walter Willems

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Théâtre de Cristal
Théâtre de Cristal

Installation — 2006
The Triumph of Mischief
Touring exhibition

They are noble, gentlemanly, and high minded, although they are they often prone to argument and fierce bouts of independence.

The history and customs of such a people, preserved by pictorial illustrations, are themes worthy of the lifetime of one artist, and nothing short of the loss of my life shall prevent me from knowing them and becoming their historian.

Photo: Walter Willems

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Miss Chief’s Magical Winter Count
Miss Chief’s Magical Winter Count

Installation — 2008
Face the Nation
Art Gallery of Alberta

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Scent of a Beaver
The Rise and Fall of Civilization
The Rise and Fall of Civilization
The Rise and Fall of Civilization
The Rise and Fall of Civilization
Casualties of Modernity
Casualties of Modernity
Bête Noire
Bête Noire
The Big Four
The Big Four
The Big Four
The Big Four
The Big Four
The Big Four
Lot's Wife
Lot's Wife
Lot's Wife
Two Kindred Spirits
Two Kindred Spirits
Two Kindred Spirits
The Art Game
The Art Game
The Art Game
The Art Game
The Art Game
The Art Game
The Art Game
The Collapsing of Time and Space in an Ever Expanding Universe
The Collapsing of Time and Space in an Ever Expanding Universe
The Collapsing of Time and Space in an Ever Expanding Universe
The Collapsing of Time and Space in an Ever Expanding Universe
The Atelier
The Atelier
The Atelier
My Treaty is With the Crown
My Treaty is With the Crown
My Treaty is With the Crown
My Treaty is With the Crown
Dance to the Berdashe
Dance to the Berdashe
Dance to the Berdashe
Dance to the Berdashe
Dance to the Berdashe
Boudoir de Berdashe
Boudoir de Berdashe
Salon Indien
Salon Indien
Dreamcatcher Bra
Racoon Jockstrap
Louis Vuitton Quiver
Beaded Moccasins
Shapeshifters, Time Travellers, and Storytellers
Tall Tails
Théâtre de Cristal
Théâtre de Cristal
Théâtre de Cristal
Théâtre de Cristal
Théâtre de Cristal
Miss Chief’s Magical Winter Count
Scent of a Beaver

Mixed Media Installation - 2016

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The Rise and Fall of Civilization

Mixed Media Installation - 2015
Gardiner Museum
Photo: Jimmy Limit

VIEW ALL

The Rise and Fall of Civilization

Mixed Media Installation - 2015
Gardiner Museum
Photo: Jimmy Limit

VIEW ALL

The Rise and Fall of Civilization

Mixed Media Installation - 2015
Gardiner Museum
Photo: Jimmy Limit

VIEW ALL

The Rise and Fall of Civilization

Mixed Media Installation - 2015
Gardiner Museum
Photo: Jimmy Limit

VIEW ALL

Casualties of Modernity

Mixed Media Installation - 2015
BMO Project Room
casualtiesofmodernity.com
Photo: Tony Hafkenscheid

VIEW ALL

Casualties of Modernity

Mixed Media Installation - 2015
BMO Project Room
casualtiesofmodernity.com
Photo: Tony Hafkenscheid

VIEW ALL

Bête Noire

192 x 192 x 120 inches — 2014
Painted backdrop (acrylic on canvas)
Sculptural installation (mixed media)

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Bête Noire

192 x 192 x 120 inches — 2014
Painted backdrop (acrylic on canvas)
Sculptural installation (mixed media)

VIEW ALL

The Big Four

Multi Media Installation — 2013

VIEW ALL

 

The Big Four

Multi Media Installation — 2013

VIEW ALL

The Big Four

Multi Media Installation — 2013

VIEW ALL

The Big Four

Multi Media Installation — 2013

VIEW ALL

The Big Four

Multi Media Installation — 2013

VIEW ALL

The Big Four

Multi Media Installation — 2013

VIEW ALL

Lot's Wife

Multi Media Installation — 2012

Lot’s Wife, invoking the Biblical story of the woman who, despite divine threat of reprisal, turned back in her leave-taking for a final glance at Sodom, her former home. For her defiance, God turned her to a pillar of salt.

VIEW ALL

Lot's Wife

Multi Media Installation — 2012

Lot’s Wife, invoking the Biblical story of the woman who, despite divine threat of reprisal, turned back in her leave-taking for a final glance at Sodom, her former home. For her defiance, God turned her to a pillar of salt.

VIEW ALL

Lot's Wife

Multi Media Installation — 2012

Lot’s Wife, invoking the Biblical story of the woman who, despite divine threat of reprisal, turned back in her leave-taking for a final glance at Sodom, her former home. For her defiance, God turned her to a pillar of salt.

VIEW ALL

Two Kindred Spirits

Multi Media Installation — 2012

Based on similarities found between fictitious American and German buddy characters, Tonto and the Lone Ranger, and Winnetou and Old Shatterhand, this multi media installation explores male warrior/lover relationships found in the Greek myths of Achilles and Patrocles and Apollo and Hyacinthus.

VIEW ALL

Two Kindred Spirits

Multi Media Installation — 2012

Based on similarities found between fictitious American and German buddy characters, Tonto and the Lone Ranger, and Winnetou and Old Shatterhand, this multi media installation explores male warrior/lover relationships found in the Greek myths of Achilles and Patrocles and Apollo and Hyacinthus.

VIEW ALL

Two Kindred Spirits

Multi Media Installation — 2012

Based on similarities found between fictitious American and German buddy characters, Tonto and the Lone Ranger, and Winnetou and Old Shatterhand, this multi media installation explores male warrior/lover relationships found in the Greek myths of Achilles and Patrocles and Apollo and Hyacinthus.

VIEW ALL

The Art Game

Toronto International Art Fair — 2011
October 28-31st
Dimensions variable

Curated by Steven Loft, The Art Game is a life-size maze, constructed from booth walls identical to the Art Fair itself, takes the audience through an art world “funhouse.”

VIEW ALL

The Art Game

Toronto International Art Fair — 2011
October 28-31st
Dimensions variable

The meandering corridors are made more confusing with the use of double-sided mirrors, trick windows, and fake doors, forcing the audience into a challenging experience of disorientation and multiple choice – not unlike the real art world.

VIEW ALL

The Art Game

Toronto International Art Fair — 2011
October 28-31st
Dimensions variable

Dispersed throughout the maze are four “dioramas”, in the form of four small rooms, each one presenting the four key players in the Art Game: artist, curator/museum director, gallerist, and collector.

VIEW ALL

The Art Game

Toronto International Art Fair — 2011
October 28-31st
Dimensions variable

Thank you to Art Toronto, Pierre-Francois Oulette Art Contemporain, Caviar20 and Ryerson Image Centre

VIEW ALL

The Art Game

Toronto International Art Fair — 2011
October 28-31st
Dimensions variable

VIEW ALL

The Art Game

Toronto International Art Fair — 2011
October 28-31st

VIEW ALL

The Art Game

Toronto International Art Fair — 2011
October 28-31st
Dimensions variable

VIEW ALL

The Collapsing of Time and Space in an Ever Expanding Universe

Dimensions approx 21' x 14' x 16' — 2011
Life sized mannequin, antique furniture, paint, wallpaper, wood, taxidermied animals, audio

In a life-size museum diorama, the artist's alter ego Miss Chief, appears simultaneously in the past, present, and future as an aging diva alone in her Parisian apartment listening repeatedly to her one "hit" record - Dance to Miss Chief. Overcome with nostalgia, tears well up as she gazes longingly through a window at a sublime landscape - the trackless forests of her nubile youth but a distant memory.

VIEW ALL

The Collapsing of Time and Space in an Ever Expanding Universe

Dimensions approx 21' x 14' x 16' — 2011

Life sized mannequin, antique furniture, paint, wallpaper, wood, taxidermied animals, audio

VIEW ALL

The Collapsing of Time and Space in an Ever Expanding Universe

Dimensions approx 21' x 14' x 16' — 2011
Life sized mannequin, antique furniture, paint, wallpaper, wood, taxidermied animals, audio

VIEW ALL

The Collapsing of Time and Space in an Ever Expanding Universe

Dimensions approx 21' x 14' x 16' — 2011
Life sized mannequin, antique furniture, paint, wallpaper, wood, taxidermied animals, audio

VIEW ALL

The Atelier

Installed dimensions vary — 2011

The Atelier offers a glimpse into the creative process of contemporary artist Kent Monkman. Employing the idiom of the museum diorama, a section of the gallery is transformed into the corner of an artist's studio, complete with furniture, studies, drawings, reference materials, etchings, and artist's materials.

Over the past decade, Monkman's work has referenced classical traditions of art history, often quoting European artists from the 19th century whose subjects were indigenous people of North America.

VIEW ALL

The Atelier

Installed dimensions vary — 2011

With the help of his two-spirited alter-ego, Miss Chief Eagle Testickle, Monkman has reversed the gaze, turning the European Male into the subject, to challenge received notions of truth in art history, and current museological representations of First Nations cultures.

The setting of The Atelier, with antique furniture and vintage wallpaper captures the historical flavour of the 19th century, but as in the rest of Monkman's work, plays fast and loose with anachronisms, fact and fiction, and complicates ideas of what is authentic and historically correct.

VIEW ALL

The Atelier

Installed dimensions vary — 2011

Recently, Monkman has leveled his aim at the Western novels of 19th century German novelist Karl May, and the "Sauerkraut Westerns" inspired by his fictitious "Indian" hero Winnetou. May's novels spawned a fascination with Native American cultures in generations of Germans and Eastern Europeans that persist today in many forms including Indian Camps, where Europeans dress up, and play Indian during their summer vacations.

Dance to Miss Chief (2010), screening as part ofThe Atelier exhibition, uses the idiom of the music video to remix footage from German Westerns and from Monkman's seminal multi-channel video installation, Dance to the Berdashe (2008).

VIEW ALL

My Treaty is With the Crown

Installed dimensions vary — 2011

My Treaty is With the Crown transforms the gallery into a camp of military tents in which the new “Canada” that emerges in the decisive battle of the Plains of Abraham between the British and the French armies (General Wolfe and Montcalm) is invaded by the presence of Miss Chief Eagle Testickle, Monkman’s alter ego.

Photo credit: Paul Litherland

VIEW ALL

My Treaty is With the Crown

Installed dimensions vary — 2011

Hair as a symbol of power and its removal, as an act of humiliation and domination, is the thematic thread that runs through the environment created by the artist. The biblical allegory of Delilah’s betrayal of Samson is linked to the French battle with the English Crown, Miss Chief addresses the relationship of betrayal and treatment aboriginals have had with European colonizers.

Photo credit: Paul Litherland

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My Treaty is With the Crown

Installed dimensions vary — 2011

Photo credit: Paul Smith

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My Treaty is With the Crown

Installed dimensions vary — 2011

Photo credit: Paul Litherland

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Dance to the Berdashe

Five-channel video installation — 2008

Dance to the Berdashe was inspired by a canvas of the same title by the American painter George Catlin (1796-1872) depicting a dance common among the Sauk and Fox nations, of warriors dancing around a Berdashe, visibly joyful and excited. In his memoirs, published in 1844, From Letters and Notes on the Manners, Customs, and Conditions of North American Indians, Catlin speaks of this ritual unsympathetically: “One of the most unaccountable and disgusting customs that I have ever met in the Indian country...and where I should wish that it might be extinguished before it be more fully recorded.”

Photo: Montreal Museum of Fine Art, Christine Guest

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Dance to the Berdashe

Five-channel video installation — 2008

This video installation, composed of five large projections, offers a contemporary re-interpretation of a traditional Aboriginal ritual featuring the Berdashe, that special male figure whose gender-bending behaviour and very existence astonished and appalled many explorers of the American West.

Photo: Montreal Museum of Fine Art, Christine Guest

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Dance to the Berdashe

Five-channel video installation — 2008

The Monkmanian version of this scene, displayed on five screens in the shape of buffalo hides, shows Miss Chief Eagle Testickle dancing the role of the Berdashe. The choreography, created by Canadian Cree actor, choreographer and dancer Michael Greyeyes, is based on both the traditional powwow and contemporary dance. The music, written by Toronto composer Phil Strong, is a free syncopated version of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, a modern masterpiece also inspired by ancient tribal rituals.

Photo: Montreal Museum of Fine Art, Christine Guest

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Dance to the Berdashe

Five-channel video installation — 2008

The critic Barry Ace has written, “It is interesting to note that one of Catlin’s least regarded and perhaps more controversial image[s] would become one of [the] more meaningful works, despite being trapped for more than a century in monolithic stasis. Monkman has clearly released the spirit and intent of the dance, giving it new life.”

Photo: Montreal Museum of Fine Art, Christine Guest

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Dance to the Berdashe

Five-channel video installation — 2008

Photo: Montreal Museum of Fine Art, Christine Guest

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Boudoir de Berdashe

Installation — 2007
The Triumph of Mischief
Touring exhibition

The Oxford English Dictionary defines the boudoir as a “small elegantly-furnished room, where a lady may retire to be alone, or to receive her intimate friends.” It derives from the French verb bouder, meaning to pout. The word Berdashe is thought to come from the Arab bardaj, or slave. The romantic languages adopted the word to mean catamite, or “a boy used for unnatural purposes” in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Ultimately it was used in North America to describe what we would today call an Aboriginal transvestite.

Photo: Edward Kowal

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Boudoir de Berdashe

Installation — 2007
The Triumph of Mischief
Touring exhibition

In Boudoir de Berdashe, Kent Monkman’s alter ego, Miss Chief Eagle Testickle, invites an audience to repose in her lavish quarters. Inside the velvet-lined tipi Victorian furniture, birch bark Louis Vuitton suitcases, a chandelier, a Hudson Bay blanket and a pair of her beaded platform moccasins, give guests entry into a personal space the Berdashe seems to have momentarily left behind. She is a storyteller and entertainer, and despite her absence, offers to her audienceShooting Geronimo, a silent film in which she stars as an androgynous and glamorous trickster. The film is viewed in stereo as a two-channel rear screen video projection on two of the tipi’s thirteen panels.

Photo: Walter Willems

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Salon Indien

Installation — 2006
Remix: New Modernities in a Post-Indian World
Art Gallery of Ontario

Monkman draws on the facts of these events to create a screening gallery of his own, a turn-of-the-century movie theatre that intends to shock and entertain, just as Catlin did. The tipi-come-cinema lures its audience with a sophisticated appeal; inside a chandelier hangs amongst sweeping drapery in a soft glow of light and, on the floor, a stretched (simulated) buffalo hide plays two movies, Group of Seven Inches and Robin’s Hood.

Photo: John Goldstein

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Salon Indien

Installation — 2006
Remix: New Modernities in a Post-Indian World
Art Gallery of Ontario

In 1895, the Lumières brothers’ Cinematographe, the world’s first movie projector, was first used for public film screenings in Paris at Salon Indien. Fifty-six years prior, George Catlin launched his Gallery of the North American Indian at Egyptian Hall in London: a tour he conducted through Europe with a live troupe of ”authentic“ Aboriginal people, a full scale Crow tipi and a vast collection of Aboriginal paraphernalia. Catlin’s ‘Indians’ performed ceremonial dances, and enacted various tableaux vivants furnishing him with a traveling circus that gave Europe a showcase of the “curious” but “dying” breed.

Photo: John Goldstein

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Dreamcatcher Bra

2007
Leather, string, beads
Approx. 13" x 10" x 6"

Also worn in performances by Miss Chief in Robin’s Hood, and Shooting Geronimo.


Photo: Brian Boyle

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Racoon Jockstrap

2007
Racoon fur, silk
Approx. 14" x 10" x 6"

Fashioned from a raccoon hat once belonging to the late Toronto film critic Jay Scott, this jockstrap forms the lower half of a costume worn in a performance at the Drake Hotel in 2005. The costume “Trapper’s Bride” is a peignoir worn by Miss Chief in the painting of the same name.

Photo: Brian Boyle

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Louis Vuitton Quiver

007
Cow leather, synthetics
Approx. 18" x 10" x 5" 

Monkman has used the Louis Vuitton brand to refer to social hierarchies and monopolies of class, power and wealth, established by trade among Europeans and Native Americans. Monkman has fashioned faux “Louis Vuitton” birch bark luggage (Boudoir de Berdashe), and an arrow quiver (Shooting Geronimo) that Miss Chief has worn in live performances and films.

Photo: Brian Boyle

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Beaded Moccasins

2007

These high heeled pumps were worn by Miss Chief in numerous films, videos and performances. They are also displayed as Miss Chief ’s personal effects inside Boudoir de Berdashe.

Photo: Brian Boyle

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Shapeshifters, Time Travellers, and Storytellers

Installation — 2007
Shapeshifters, Timetravellers, Storytellers
Institute for Contemporary Culture at the Royal Ontario Museum

Installation view: Beaded Moccasins, Dreamcatcher Bra, Raccoon Jockstrap, and Louis Vuitton Quiver.

Photo: Brian Boyle

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Tall Tails

Installation — 2007
The Triumph of Mischief
Touring exhibition

Tall Tails is an installation with sound (music) that references Monkman’s performance work. Fashion, as a signifier of cultural change, is a recurring theme Monkman explores in various media. The costume on the mannequin is one of three successively larger and more outlandish headresses worn by Monkman (as Miss Chief) during the performance Séance.

Right-click to download ’Dance to Miss Chief (Dwayne Minard Cellout Remix).mp3‘

Photo: Walter Willems

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Théâtre de Cristal

Installation — 2006
The Triumph of Mischief
Touring exhibition

The Théâtre de Cristal is what Monkman refers to as the champagne of tipis, the title recalls Cristal Champagne and, as insinuated, it effervesces with sparkle and elegance.

Photo: Guy L’Heureux

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Théâtre de Cristal

Installation — 2006
The Triumph of Mischief
Touring exhibition

In over 150 North American Aboriginal cultures, the Berdashe, or village transvestite, was an accepted and often celebrated member of the tribe. Although the tradition has not been well documented (it is certain that in the case of George Catlin the lack of representation was deliberate), knowledge of its presence reveals a more complex understanding of Aboriginal and sexual identities.

Photo: Don Hall

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Théâtre de Cristal

Installation — 2006
The Triumph of Mischief
Touring exhibition

The persona of Miss Chief challenges the authoritative version of history by playing the starring role in “period” photographs, romantic paintings and silent era films such as Group of Seven Inches and Robin’s Hood. Through this re-imaging of history, missing narratives are explored as Miss Chief subverts the authority of the artists who created images of Aboriginal people in the 19th century.

Photo: Walter Willems

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Théâtre de Cristal

Installation — 2006
The Triumph of Mischief
Touring exhibition

In Group of Seven Inches, and Robin’s Hood she leaps back in time and rearranges the colonial story, composing an unexpected sequence of events. In both films she plays the part of an Aboriginal explorer, approaching European subjects with a removed curiosity. On the walls surrounding the Théâtre Miss Chief has borrowed from Paul Kane and George Catlin’s prose for musings on her subject, the European Male:

Photo: Walter Willems

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Théâtre de Cristal

Installation — 2006
The Triumph of Mischief
Touring exhibition

They are noble, gentlemanly, and high minded, although they are they often prone to argument and fierce bouts of independence.

The history and customs of such a people, preserved by pictorial illustrations, are themes worthy of the lifetime of one artist, and nothing short of the loss of my life shall prevent me from knowing them and becoming their historian.

Photo: Walter Willems

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Miss Chief’s Magical Winter Count

Installation — 2008
Face the Nation
Art Gallery of Alberta

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