News Release

Missoula Art Museum

The Missoula Art Museum is honored to present Corwin Clairmont: Two-Headed Arrow/The Tar Sands Project, a catalog about Clairmont’s 2018 exhibition of the same name. Clairmont (Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes) embarked on a conceptual and performative project that covered nearly 900 miles to examine the results of tar sand mining in Canada. Clairmont’s artistic practice addresses environmental degradation and its effects on humans and wildlife through printmaking, performance, and installation works. This exhibition and catalog are the culmination of over two years’ work and features more than 30 screen prints and mixed media collages.

The journey began in the summer of 2014 at Missoula Art Museum and ended at Suncor mining operations at the Athabasca tar sands in Alberta, Canada. Clairmont adopted the common road sign as a metaphor for humanity’s choices and featured gummy bears as metaphors for both global consumerism and the loss of fauna due to mining operations. Clairmont stopped at 50-mile intervals, taking photographs of the site, and leaving half of a printed directional arrow behind. The half-prints that Clairmont retained are used to create new works related to each of the 37 sites along the trip. The work showcases Clairmont’s mastery as a printmaker, his sophisticated use of color, and his sharp sense of humor in a poignant commentary on the state of the environment. Clairmont expanded the project to additional relevant sites, such as Standing Rock in North Dakota, the site of the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline, to emphasize the global nature of the environmental crises.

The catalog captures the expansive feeling of the installation with a more immersive approach. The first half of the book features large, high-resolution photographs to mirror the artist’s process as he traveled north from Missoula. Featuring essays by professor and chair of Native American Studies at the University of Montana Kate Shanley, (Nakoda), artist and writer Gail Tremblay (Mi'kmaq and Onondaga), artist Jaune Quick-to-See Smith (Salish-Kootenai, Métis-Cree, Shoshone-Bannock), artist Neal Ambrose Smith (Salish and Kootenai), Missoula Art Museum curator emerita Stephen Glueckert, and University of Montana English professor Katie Kane.

Missoula Art Museum will celebrate the release of the publication with a virtual moderated discussion between the artist and authors, and a COVID-safe book signing at the museum on Saturday, January 23 at 1 p.m.

$25 softcover, 97 pages. Visit www.missoulaartmuseum.org to purchase a copy or come to the museum during opening hours. This project was supported by funds from the PROP Foundation and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

About Missoula Art Museum

Founded in 1975 and accredited by the American Association of Museums since 1987, Missoula Art Museum is emerging as the leading contemporary art museum in the Intermountain West. Missoula Art Museum is situated on the traditional, ancestral territories of the Séliš (Salish or “Flathead”) and Ql̓ispé (upper Kalispel or Pend d’Oreille) peoples. Missoula Art Museum is committed to respecting the indigenous stewards of the land it occupies. Their rich cultures are fundamental to artistic life in Montana and to the work of Missoula Art Museum. Missoula Art Museum is a fully accessible, free public museum boasting eight exhibition spaces, a library, and education center in the heart of Missoula’s historic downtown.

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