Rick Bartow at The Autry Museum: “Things You Know But Cannot Explain”

“Deer Spirit for Frank LaPena” by Rick Bartow

The Autry Museum in Griffith Park celebrates the late Native American artist Rick Bartow (1946-2016) with a major retrospective May 12, 2018 through January 6, 2019.

Entitled Things You Know But Cannot Explain, the exhibit includes large paintings, drawings, and sculptures from over 40 years of work, reflecting his personal influences of traditional Native American art, Basquiat, Rauschenberg and Francis Bacon, among other contemporary artists.

A member of the Mad River Band of the Wiyot tribe indigenous to Northern California, Bartow was a Vietnam vet who suffered from PTSD and alcoholism, and his work, which often features human/animal transformations, includes such dark themes as death and addiction. I personally find some of it intriguingly creepy. One of his most celebrated works is his pair of 20-foot sculptures on the National Mall in D.C., called “We Were Always Here,” commissioned in 2011 by The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.

“3 Hawks” by Rick Bartow

Bartow’s art is “emblematic of a groundbreaking generation that fundamentally shifted expectations and understanding of Native American art while engaging in a global conversation about art, trauma, and identity” (The Autry).

The Autry Museum is open 10-4pm Tuesday through Friday and 10-5pm on the weekends.

Admission is $14 adults, $10 students & seniors, and $6 for kids aged 3-12. For museum members, admission is free. Open and free to the general public on the second Tuesday of every month.


Simone Snaith

About Simone Snaith

Simone Snaith writes young adult and fantasy novels, and sings in the band Turning Violet. A fan of scifi, fantasy, the supernatural and most things from the '80s, she enjoys reviewing music, books and movies. You can read about her own books at simonesnaith.com.
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