It Was A Beautiful Dream will be on view at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, Louisiana from March 12 – April 5, 2015 in the SPE Combined Caucus Exhibition, featuring works selected by Deborah Willis, Artist and Chair of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and Carol McCusker, Curator of Photography at the Harn Museum of Art in Gainesville, Florida. From May 13 – 28, it will be on view at the University of Central Florida Art Gallery.
I can still see the butchered women and children lying heaped and scattered all along the crooked gulch as plain as when I saw them with eyes still young. And I can see that something else died there in the bloody mud, and was buried in the blizzard. A people’s dream died there. It was a beautiful dream.
– Heȟka Spa (Black Elk), Oglala Sioux leader, 1932, from his oral testimony of the Wounded Knee Massacre on December 29, 1890.
On the morning of December 29, 1890, near Wounded Knee Creek on the Lakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment surrounded and entered an encampment of the Lakota. In an attempt to disarm them, a scuffle broke out and indiscriminate gunfire erupted, resulting in least 90 warriors and approximately 200 women and children of the Lakota being killed and 51 wounded. Thirty-one soldiers of the 7th Cavalry also died, and 39 were wounded.
It Was A Beautiful Dream considers the landscape and our sense of memory, culture and history around the events of the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890 on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Through a suite of photographs and the front and back of vintage postcards of “Iron Hail Known as Dewey Beard – Survivor of the Wounded Knee Indian Battle,” the series is structured as a narrative vignette to isolate contemplative moments, collapsing time and history.
The photographs of the grassy field and the woman lost in thought in the cemetery at the site of the massacre set a quiet, peaceful mood. The portrait of David Glenn closely resembles the postcard of “Iron Hail,” reflecting on the presence of the Lakota warrior over time. He had served as a sniper in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, killing 29 Viet Cong soldiers and now suffers from Agent Orange.
It Was A Beautiful Dream is from the larger, ongoing series entitled, Somewhere Out There, Something Is Happening, in which vintage postcards and photographs along with contemporary images explore the notion of our “inherent spirit” and the psyche of the contemporary American social scene during a time of hope and change and whether what is past is truly prologue.