Hammer Contemporary Collection: Brian Jungen
In his installation The Evening Redness in the West (2006), the Canadian artist Brian Jungen (b. 1970, Fort St. John, BC) addresses the legacy of colonialism and violence in Hollywood westerns. Informed by the artist’s Dane-zaa First Nations heritage and influenced by Indigenous craft and iconography, the work exemplifies Jungen’s use of consumer goods and materials to question depictions of Native American experience in popular culture. In this tableau, leather home theater seats are reconfigured into a saddle situated atop an improvised wood plinth. Skulls sewn from worn softballs and baseballs flank the central object. These handcrafted and refabricated elements are connected to a DVD system and amplifier that play the audio from popular western films. Detached from the original films’ images, the sounds narrate a story of conflict on the western frontier. Each rumble, gunshot, and climactic boom activates the sculptural event, causing the makeshift saddle horse to buck, tremble, and move about the gallery. The Evening Redness in the West is also the subtitle of Cormac McCarthy’s epic novel Blood Meridian (1985), a meditation on violence in the aftermath of the Mexican-American War (1846–48).
Hammer Contemporary Collection: Brian Jungen is organized by Aram Moshayedi, Robert Soros Curator, with Nicholas Barlow, curatorial assistant.
Brian Jungen (b. 1970, Fort St. John, B.C.) currently lives and works in North Okanagan, B.C. He studied art at Emily Carr College of Art and Design, Vancouver. His recent survey exhibition Friendship Centre was presented at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto in 2019. Other solo exhibitions have taken place at Kunstverein Hannover (2013); Bonner Kunstverein (2013); Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (2011); National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, DC (2009); Museum Villa Stuck, Munich (2007); Tate Modern, London (2006); Vancouver Art Gallery (2006); Witte de With, Rotterdam (2006); and New Museum, New York (2005). His work has been included in numerous group exhibitions, including the Liverpool Biennial (2018); Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe (2017); and National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (2017, 2013).