Laura Ortman (White Mountain Apache). "My Soul Remainer." 2017. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Purchase with exchange funds from the Pearlstone Family Fund and partial gift of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.

Laura Ortman: Wood that Sings


This exhibition puts Laura Ortman’s (White Mountain Apache) My Soul Remainer into conversation with a historic Apache violin by Amos Gustina. Ortman’s video work features the artist playing the violin against the dramatic backdrop of the Southwestern landscape, while her collaborator Jock Soto (Diné) assumes reverential postures. Ortman’s original score builds upon then radically departs from the overwhelmingly white, male canon of classical music—her score samples a classical Mendelssohn piece, which bleeds into an atmospheric and ethereal composition. The pairing of the piece with the Apache violin insists upon the ingenuity and enduring community traditions of the Southwest.

Preoccupied: Indigenizing the Museum is a wide-reaching project that proposes Indigenizing interventions to address and refuse the oppressive hierarchies of coloniality that pervade the realm of culture and serve as the underpinning of museums. The project encompasses community engagement, a series of nine monographic and thematic exhibitions, institutional interventions, public programs, and an untraditional catalog.


Curated by Leila Grothe, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art and Dare Turner (Yurok Tribe), Curator of Indigenous Art at the Brooklyn Museum, with support from Curatorial Research Assistant Elise Boulanger (Citizen of the O​sage Nation).

This project is generously supported by the Terra Foundation for American Art and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Additional support provided by the Eileen Harris Norton Foundation and The Robert Lehman Foundation.