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The Artist and the Showman

The Artist and the Showman

Artist: Ray Abeyta (1956 Santa Cruz, New Mexico - 2014 Brooklyn, New York)

Department: Art
Date: 2014
Medium: oil on canvas
Dimensions:
48 × 60 in. (121.9 × 152.4 cm)
Classification: Painting
Credit Line: Albuquerque Museum, museum purchase
Object number: PC2014.44.1
DescriptionSeated, knee-length view of Buffalo Bill in his Wild West show buckskins (at viewer's left) and Herman Melville in a black suit.
On view
Text Entries

Ray Martín Abeyta

1956 Santa Cruz, New Mexico – 2014 Brooklyn, New York

The Artist and the Showman, East Coast West Coast, Buffalo Bill and Herman Melville

2013

oil on canvas
museum purchase

PC2014.44.1

 

Ray Martín Abeyta pokes at colonial attitudes in this metaphorical painting. The relationship between Buffalo Bill Cody and Herman Melville may seem oblique, but Abeyta draws a thought-provoking parallel. Melville’s Moby Dick affirms the colonial belief that all resources, including oil rendered from whales, should be exploited. In the book, this belief leads to complete disaster. Similarly, Cody’s colonialism presents the West as a carnival that masks the cultural disasters and genocide that occurred during the “taming” of the West. Comically dragging them into the present, Abeyta shows Cody and Melville throwing gang signs, envisioning them representing west and east sides of a colonial “’hood.”

El artista y el showman, costa este y costa oeste, Buffalo Bill y Herman Melville

2013

óleo sobre lienzo

adquisición del museo

PC2014.44.1

 

Ray Martín Abeyta se burla de las actitudes colonialistas en esta pintura metafórica. La relación entre Buffalo Bill Cody y Melville pudiera parecer dudosa, no obstante, Abeyta traza un paralelismo sugerente. Moby Dick de Melville afirma la creencia colonialista de que todos los recursos, incluida la grasa de las ballenas, es susceptible de explotación. En el libro, esta creencia desemboca en un auténtico desastre. De manera similar, el colonialismo de Cody presenta el Oeste como un carnaval en el que se enmascara el genocidio y la tragedia cultural que tuvo lugar durante la «conquista» del Oeste. Arrastrando a ambos al presente en un entorno cómico, Abeyta muestra a Cody y Melville lanzando signos típicos de las pandillas callejeras, imaginándolos como representantes de los «barrios pandilleros» coloniales de las zonas este y oeste.