How might we understand the art—and perhaps something of the life—of Kiowa/Caddo artist T.C. Cannon by centering his engagement with music and in particular with a meditation on Cannon’s 000-18 Martin guitar, which greeted visitors to the landmark exhibition, T.C. Cannon: At the Edge of America?
In the form of a personal reflective essay, T.C. Cannon’s Guitar
contemplates my own history with similar guitars, songs from the folk-songwriter tradition, and questions of multi-media crossings—art, music, text, object—that demonstrate revealing stylistic affinities. The essay explores intergenerational relations between myself, Cannon, and my father Vine Deloria, Jr., the three of us evenly spaced over the course of the late twentieth century, and it does so in an effort to understand something about the historical impulses of the period between 1965 and 1978. In that moment—accessible to me through memories of affects more than memories of actions—Native politics and art were both figuring out ways to honor the past while making it new, creating distinctive forms that we can recognize around concepts such as survivance
, and indigenous modernism
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