Gerald Clarke’s art featured in the Smithsonian's National Gallery of Art

Author: Sandra Baltazar Martinez
October 13, 2023

Gerald L. Clarke, Jr., professor of ethnic studies and artist, is one of 50 living Native American artists whose work is part of the Smithsonian’s National Gallery of Art.

The exhibition, titled “The Land Carries Our Ancestors: Contemporary Art by Native Americans,” will be on view four months, through January 15, 2024, and is curated by artist Jaune Quick-to-See Smith. 

According to the National Gallery of Art, all 50 artists practice in the United States.

Gerald L. Clarke, Jr.

“For generations, Native American artists have sought to have our work included in major museum exhibitions in this country, and not simply delegated to special ethnographic exhibitions,” Clarke said. “I’m proud to represent my tribal community at the National Gallery of Art and hope that exhibitions such as this will become normalized in the contemporary art world.”

The National Gallery of Art website describes the installation as diverse as the Native American identities and adds that “at the same time, these works share a worldview informed by thousands of years of reverence, study, and concern for the land.” 

Visitors can experience a variety of works, including weaving, beadwork, sculpture, painting, printmaking, drawing, photography, performance, and video. The works in “The Land Carries Our Ancestors” underscores the self-determination, survivance, and right to self-representation of Indigenous people, the National Gallery of Art website indicates. 

Clarke’s work has also been prominently featured in world renowned projects and museums. Recently, his work was part of the Palm Springs Art Museum and is currently exhibiting at the University of California, Davis’s Gorman Museum of Native American Art