Northern Cheyenne artist, Bently Spang, became our first Artist in Residence for 2015.
Bently Spang was born on the Crow Indian Reservation in 1960 and grew up both on and off the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation, living in places such as Sitka, Alaska, and Portland, Oregon. He graduated from Montana State University-Billings and earned a Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He taught at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston from 2007 to 2009 as a full-time Visiting Faculty Member in Video.1
A writer, curator, educator, and multidisciplinary artist whose mediums include mixed media sculpture, performance, video, and installation, his work is exhibited widely in the United States, Europe, Mexico, Canada, and South America. By combining organic and non-organic matter into sculpture, infusing performance with ironic humor and pushing the boundaries of video and installation, Spang creates Indigenous cultural spaces and expresses himself as a contemporary Cheyenne.2
This past June, Spang conducted a drawing workshop and interacted with museum visitors in the Plains Indian Museum over a two-week period. The interview above delves into Spang’s artwork, creative process, and his reasons for becoming an artist.
1. [Bently Spang. Native American Encyclopedia at Native News Today. http://www.nativenewstoday.com/2014/01/21/bently-spang-northern-cheyennebiography-spang-was-born-on-the/]↩
2. [Mattes, Catherine. Bently Spang. Museum of Contemporary Native Arts at the Institute of American Indian Arts. http://www.iaia.edu/museum/vision-project/artists/bently-spang/]↩