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AMFA: Action/Abstraction Redefined: Modern Native Art, 1940s to 1970s

February 16, 2024 - May 12, 2024

Action/Abstraction Redefined: Modern Native Art, 1940s to 1970s is the first major traveling exhibition to analyze modern Native American art in relation to Abstract Expressionism, Color Field, and Hard-Edge Painting.

Based on the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe, where revolutionary approaches encouraged experimentation and risk taking, Action/Abstraction Redefined explores how IAIA’s artists combined New York School art influences with Native art traditions and challenged stereotypical expectations of American Indian art at midcentury.

Much has been made of Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and other soon-to-be Abstract Expressionists in the mid-1940s making paintings inspired by Surrealism, Jungian analysis, ancient myths, and global arts and religions, including Native American imagery. This exhibition flips that script and expands the conversation to showcase Indigenous artists bringing their own visual culture and innovation to modern art movements.

Fritz Scholder (Mission/Luiseño, 1937 – 2005), New Mexico #40, 1966, acrylic on canvas, 73 1/2 x 51 1/2 in., On loan from the MoCNA Collection, MS-41. IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Santa Fe, NM. © Estate of Fritz Scholder.

Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts


Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts
2510 Cantrell Rd
Little Rock, Arkansas 72202
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(501) 372-4000
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