Collection Talk: Will Wilson “Shiprock Disposal Cell, Shiprock, New Mexico, Navajo Nation” (2020) [Video]

Throughout 2020-21 The Block Museum is reflecting on artworks from the collection that explore ideas of excess, consumption, and the environment, and offer an interdisciplinary perspective on the climate crisis. Our project is inspired by The Story of More by Hope Jahren, Northwestern University’s 2021-2022 One Book One Northwestern (OBON) selection.

In this online talk, Lois Taylor Biggs, Terra Foundation Curatorial Research Fellow and Interim Curatorial Assistant, focuses on the photograph Shiprock Disposal Cell, Shiprock, New Mexico, Navajo Nation, from the series Connecting the Dots for a Just Transition by Diné photographer Will Wilson. She considers the way that the artist engages the art histories of landscape painting and photography to critique settler-colonial consumption of land.

Presented in partnership with The Alumnae of Northwestern University.

Watch the Art Talk

Through this discussion of landscape histories and photographic histories in relation to Wilson’s work, we see a strong relationship between absence and presence, and time and form… As in the survey photographs and as in many Hudson River School paintings, there are no people present in [Shiprock Disposal Cell]. So, Wilson makes the link between American landscape representation and the consumption of land explicit, and ties it very concretely to the absence of indigenous people. Connecting the Dots aims to be an initiative which, not only bears witness to environmental destruction, but seeks remediation through Diné ways of knowing and doing.

See all The Story of More Collection Selections

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