Date of Award

1-1-2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Human Communications

First Advisor

Dr. Kate Willink

Keywords

American Indian, art, discourse, identity, representation, sovereignty

Abstract

Author: Noell Ross Jackson

Title: VIRGIL ORTIZ: AMERICAN INDIAN ARTIST, REPRESENTATIONAL

TRICKSTER, AND IDENTITY SHAPESHIFTER

Advisor: Dr. Kate Willink

Degree Date: August 2009

ABSTRACT

This study opens the door for a re-thinking of how discourse shapes American

Indian representation and identity. As such, contemporary American Indian artist, Virgil

Ortiz, his art, and the discourse surrounding both art and artist are examined to reveal the

strategies and tactics employed in his constitution of a politics of representation that

broaden the spectrum of considerations of American Indian identity.

Critical invention is the orientation through which two methodological

approaches are intertextually applied. A critical rhetorical approach is employed to

analyze both the vernacular discourse produced by Ortiz and the dominant discourse

constructed by the dominant culture. Sorrells (1999) theoretical and methodological

approach to reading intercultural imagery is also applied to conduct a visual analysis of

Ortiz's art.

To contextually frame an understanding of Ortiz and his work, a literature review

and a historical chapter are included. The literature review details the linking of

American Indian cultural identity, collective identity, and cultural sovereignty to the

production of American Indian art; examines art and American Indian identity; and

investigates art and the production of a politics of representation. The historical chapter

reveals the poetics and politics of American Indian discursive constructions by both the

dominant culture and American Indians.

The theme of sadomasochistic dominance and submission (SMDS) is explored in

Ortiz's art to understand how it communicatively operates through vernacular discourse.

Ortiz's marketing through branding and personal branding is analyzed to understand how

Ortiz both subverts and complies with the dominant culture's current entrenchment in

commodity capitalism and in stale American Indian representations.

The measure of representational sovereignty that Ortiz asserts is evident in the

mediums and the media in which he participates. This study reveals that Ortiz produces a

counter discourse that disturbs hegemonic notions of American Indians; promotes more

prismatic considerations of American Indian identity, rather than one-dimensional stale

stereotypes or two-dimensional restraining binaries; and offers alternative American

Indian archetypes for consideration. Ortiz draws from the mainstream to the margins and

the surface to the subterranean to create a politics of representation that promotes an

understanding of multi-faceted, multi-dimensional, and multiple American Indian identity

articulations, which move American Indians closer to signification self-sovereignty.

Provenance

Recieved from ProQuest

Rights holder

Noell Ross Jackson

File size

297 p.

File format

application/pdf

Language

en

Discipline

Communication, Native American studies, Ethnic studies

Share

COinS