three Native Americans seated at center of image in the same poses as Manet's "Le déjeuner sur l'herbe"; figure at right holds a chicken drumstick and has a KFC bucket; nude female figure standing in river at center back; photographer wearing hat at right behind bush; clothes strewn about in LLQ; several animals: bear, squirrel, ducks, fish, rabbit, frog

%C2%A9 Jim Denomie

Edward Curtis, Paparrazzi - Skinny Dip, 2009

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Gift of Steven Langexpand_more  2014.32

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Wisconsin-born Ojibwe artist Jim Denomie is known for his sardonic and comical interpretations of American and Native American culture, politics, language, and history, especially the often discordant relationship between indigenous and “mainstream” American society. The etching Edward Curtis, Paparazzi–Skinny Dip, satirizes the American ethnologist and photographer Edward Curtis (1868-1952), whose celebrated photographic studies of the American West and Native American life and culture were made famous through published portfolios.

Denomie portrays Curtis as a celebrity photographer (“paparazzo”) surreptitiously shooting pictures of a nude Indian maiden bathing in a stream. Nearby, a group of lounging “picnickers” enjoys a bucket of KFC chicken. In the foreground, items of women’s clothing and shoes lay scattered across the ground. Denomie’s composition is loosely based on Eduoard Manet’s famous and oncecontroversial painting Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe (The Luncheon on the Grass) of 1862-63,
which raised eyebrows in its day for its audacious depiction of nude and scantily-clad women casually mingling with fully-clothed men in a sylvan landscape.

Denomie’s scene pokes fun at Curtis, the voyeur “explorer” ogling the voluptuous and exotic nude captured in her natural setting, but also satirizes non-Indian prudishness represented by Manet’s infamous painting.

Details
Title
Edward Curtis, Paparrazzi - Skinny Dip
Artist Life
(Ojibwe), born 1955
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2014.32
Provenance
The artist, Shafer, Minn.; Steven Lang, Minneapolis; given to MIA, 2014.
Curator Approved

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three Native Americans seated at center of image in the same poses as Manet's "Le déjeuner sur l'herbe"; figure at right holds a chicken drumstick and has a KFC bucket; nude female figure standing in river at center back; photographer wearing hat at right behind bush; clothes strewn about in LLQ; several animals: bear, squirrel, ducks, fish, rabbit, frog

© Jim Denomie

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