Mound City

April 12 - August 24, 2014

Curators: Marilu Knode, Executive Director and Dana Turkovic, Curator of Exhibitions

The title Mound City is St. Louis’s appellation in honor of the Mound culture that existed here a thousand years ago. The heart of this Mississippian culture’s capital, located at Cahokia, adjacent to East St. Louis on the Illinois border, is where the bulk of the remaining mounds are found. This ancient city was the largest north of Mexico City, and like Hohokam in the southwest, the Mound builders dispersed (or disappeared) around 1400 CE. Although archaeology on the site continues to yield astonishing, and controversial, findings (such as evidence of human sacrifice), the presence of this early civilization is little felt in the surrounding area. Indeed, while the nation recently celebrated Lewis & Clark’s historic voyage to find an uninterrupted water route to the West coast, the specifics of St. Louis’s role in taming of the West is little examined.

St. Louis does celebrate its position as the “heart” of the country, ignoring its less palatable history—its erasure of its native past supplanted by European settlements, its current racial problems, a convoluted political system that precludes collaboration and resource sharing, a declining industrial base and environmental problems. It is this uncelebrated set of realities that we hope will be a rich vein for artistic exploration. Through Mound City, and other educational and curatorial initiatives, we intend to explore the interrelationship between art, history and nature in our 105 acres and historic gallery spaces.

Artists in the exhibition will explore traces of native culture in our contemporary world ranging in topics of disappearance and destruction, resurrection and monument. Artists include A Tribe Called Red (Ottowa), Sam Durant (Los Angeles), Geoffrey Krawczyk (New York), Beverly Pepper (Todi, Italy), Alison Saar (Los Angeles), Marie Watt (New York), among others. Mound City will also include our In Residence: Archeologists Joe Harl and Robin Machiran.  Laumeier Sculpture Park is also co-curating a film series with Webster University focusing on films by native and indigenous filmmakers from around the globe.

 

DOWNLOAD A MAP OF THE SELF-GUIDED TOUR HERE

 

PERFORMANCE BY A TRIBE CALLED RED
Friday, April 11, 7:30 p.m., The Way Field

MOUND CITY WALKING TOUR
Saturday, April 12, 11 a.m.

LECTURE: ALISON SAAR
Thursday, May 1, 6:30 p.m.,
Washington University, Steinberg Auditorium
 
MOUND CITY FILM SERIES
Jimmy P: Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian
Directed by Arnaud Desplechin
Tuesday, May 27, 7:30PM
Webster University’s Winifred Moore Auditorium
 
MOUND CITY FILM SERIES
My Louisiana Love
Directed by Sharon Linezo Hong
Tuesday, June 24, 7:30PM
Webster University’s Winifred Moore Auditorium

TOUR: SAINT LOUIS ART MUSEUM
Thursday, July 10, 11 a.m.
Friday, July 11, 6 p.m.
Tour the Ancient American Art Collection
with curator Amy Clark
 
MOUND CITY FILM SERIES
Winter in the Blood
Directed by Alex and Andrew Smith, based on the novel by James Welch
Tuesday, July 29, 7:30PM
Webster University’s Winifred Moore Auditorium
 
 
LOANS THAT DON'T MOVE
 

In the second iteration of our “Loans That Don’t Move” program is a group of “borrowed” artworks, objects and sites chosen to build on the narrative for Mound City. These cultural documents supplement the theme of the exhibition and endeavor to move the topics beyond Laumeier’s 105 acres. Our partner institutions house special collections and each is a rich resource for a more thorough look at our local history using objects along with anecdotal reference to the historical site at Cahokia and the Mississippian people who settled in this area. Sited with didactic object labels, the “Loans that Don’t Move” program encourages further discovery and education through public art, earthen mounds, bronze plaques, photographs and other artifacts to present a taste of the cultural and social resources on both sides of the Mississippi River.

CAHOKIA MOUNDS
3015 Barrett Station Rd  St Louis, MO 63122
Artist Unknown
Chunkey Player Figurine (replica), A.D. 1100-1200
clay
8 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches
Collection of the Cahokia Mounds Site
Interpretative Center, Collinsville, Illinois

Artist Unknown
Monk’s Mound, (c. 1000-1400)
earth
954.7 x 774.3 feet
Courtesy of Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site,
Collinsvillle, Illinois

MASTADON STATE HISTORIC SITE
1508 Locust St  St Louis, MO 63103
Artist Unknown
Clovis Type Projectile Point, c.11,500 RCYBP,
radio carbon years before present
stone
dimensions variable
Courtesy of Mastodon State Historic Site,
Kimmswick, Missouri

SAINT LOUIS ART MUSEUM
1 Fine Arts Dr  St Louis, MO 63110
Artist Unknown
Discoidal (Mississippian), (c. 1000-1400)
stone
5 3/8 inches diameter
Collection of Saint Louis Art Museum

BELLEFONTAINE CEMETARY
7606 Natural Bridge Rd, St Louis, MO 63121

ALTON, ILLINOIS
Wise Street, Alton Illinois, 62002
Artist Unknown
Piasa Bird, date unknown
paint on bluff rocks
dimensions variable
Alton, Illinois

MISSOURI HISTORY MUSEUM
5700 Lindell Blvd  St Louis, MO 63112
Artist Unknown
Protest of the Sioux, 1904
5 x 7 inches
digital print
Collection of the Missouri History Museum, St. Louis

DOWNTOWN ST. LOUIS
Walnut Street and S. Broadway
Charles Brennan
Chief Pontiac Plaque, (c. 1769)
bronze
11 x 17 inches
St. Louis, Missouri