salt 11: Duane Linklater

salt 11: Duane Linklater

Utah Museum of Fine Arts

Duane Linklater, 1981.016.002, 2015. 3D printed sculpture. Courtesy of the artist and Catriona Jeffries Gallery.
February 24, 2015
salt 11: Duane Linklater

February 27–August 2, 2015

Utah Museum of Fine Arts 
The University of Utah
Marcia and John Price Museum Building
410 Campus Center Drive
Salt Lake City, UT  84112
Hours: Tuesday–Friday 10 am–5pm,
Wednesdays 10am–8pm, weekends 11am–5pm

Duane Linklater addresses the ongoing legacy of colonialism in his multidisciplinary work, whether he is appropriating offensive racial slurs from Jay Z’s song lyrics or calling attention to under-recognized American Indian artists. In his salt exhibition at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA), Linklater’s photographic and 3D printed copies of American Indian objects from the permanent collection make visible the complex and often unseen process of ethnographic transformation. The objects Linklater reproduced did not begin their lives as ethnographic objects. Separated from their original functional, ritual, or artistic contexts and presented in a new, museum context, the objects were transformed to embody both the specific histories that produced them as well as the global histories of Western expansion that resulted in their collection, their transfer to museums, and their new function as teaching objects. After undergoing such detachment and recontexualization, do ethnographic objects lose their original meaning and cease to be what they once were?

Linklater’s copying process physically expresses the loss of information that occurs as an object transforms into an ethnographic museum object. The data that is lost in translations to new media echoes the names, stories, and meanings that are erased during an object’s cultural translation in a museum. Linklater’s 3D printed objects are drained of color and lack the intricate details of their originals. Similarly, his photographic copies of Navajo textiles forfeit the crisp geometry of the original designs and are instead blurred by large pixels. Linklater’s copies, like their ethnographic counterparts, are dulled reminders of their original referents.

If, as artist Hito Steyerl proposes in her 2009 essay “In Defense of the Poor Image,” the aesthetics of poor images symbolize the revolutionary power of rapid, grassroots, mass circulation, Linklater’s objects likewise have a revolutionary message: the legacy of colonialism continues to oppress today, unrecognized by many in our pop songs, coveted fashion accessories, and educational institutions. But, rather than point a finger at a problematic past that cannot be changed, Linklater’s nuanced intervention sparks a dialogue between the museum, its collection, and its audience that will continue to identify lost information while being transparent about the interpretive effects of a museum context.


Duane Linklater (Omaskêko Cree of Moose Cree First Nation; b. 1976, lives in North Bay, Ontario, CA) studies the migration and exchange of ideas, language, and memory and reveals the inconsistencies of knowledge and history through installation, performance, film, photography, and other media. He often works collaboratively and appropriates liberally, challenging modern perceptions of authorship and authenticity. Linklater has a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art and Native Studies from the University of Alberta (2005) and a Master’s degree in Film and Video from the Milton Avery Graduate School of Arts at Bard College (2012). Recently, Linklater has had solo exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; the Maclaren Art Centre, Barrie, Ontario; and Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Ontario. In 2012, his film Modest Livelihood, made in collaboration with Brian Jungen, debuted at Walter Phillips Gallery in Banff, Alberta, as part of dOCUMENTA (13) and has been screening across North America and Europe ever since. Linklater won the Sobey Art Award, Canada’s preeminent prize for emerging artists, in 2013.

salt 11: Duane Linklater is curated by Whitney Tassie, UMFA curator of modern and contemporary art, and is made possible through a generous grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. The salt exhibition series is sponsored in part by the UMFA Friends of Contemporary Art (FoCA). Additional support for salt 11 is provided by the University of Utah J. Willard Marriott Library. salt aims to reflect the international impact of contemporary art today, forging local connections to the global and bringing new and diverse artwork to the city that shares the program’s name.

Download the salt 11 exhibition essay here.

Free public programming
Artist and curator in conversation
Thursday, February 26, 5pm


Press contact Mindy Wilson: T +1 801 581 7328 / [email protected]


Duane Linklater at Utah Museum of Fine Arts

RSVP for salt 11: Duane Linklater
Utah Museum of Fine Arts
February 24, 2015

Thank you for your RSVP.

Utah Museum of Fine Arts will be in touch.


e-flux announcements are emailed press releases for art exhibitions from all over the world.

Agenda delivers news from galleries, art spaces, and publications, while Criticism publishes reviews of exhibitions and books.

Architecture announcements cover current architecture and design projects, symposia, exhibitions, and publications from all over the world.

Film announcements are newsletters about screenings, film festivals, and exhibitions of moving image.

Education announces academic employment opportunities, calls for applications, symposia, publications, exhibitions, and educational programs.

Sign up to receive information about events organized by e-flux at e-flux Screening Room, Bar Laika, or elsewhere.

I have read e-flux’s privacy policy and agree that e-flux may send me announcements to the email address entered above and that my data will be processed for this purpose in accordance with e-flux’s privacy policy*

Thank you for your interest in e-flux. Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.