The term “active shooter” is one we hear all too often in today’s media. Artist, activist, and teacher Hock E Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds uses this very contemporary phrase to characterize massacres committed by US troops against Native Americans in the 1800s. Culling language fragments from a wide range of sources, Heap of Birds transforms them through printmaking in a process that is both spiritual and material. The results offer commentary on the violence of history as well as ongoing acts of oppression against Native communities. For this month’s New to MoMA, in which we explore a recent addition to the Museum’s collection, Heap of Birds visits his current MoMA PS1 exhibition Surviving Active Shooter Custer with curators Ruba Katrib and Esther Adler to discuss how his poetic process of wordplay and printmaking pays homage to “the ghosts of a whole culture.”
Hock E Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds: Surviving Active Shooter Custer is on view through September 2. Catch a gallery talk with Hock E Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 9, during MoMA PS1’s Summer Open House.