Ola Wlusek, the Ringling’s Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art is working on an exhibition of recent work by Indigenous contemporary artists from tribal nations with a historical link to Florida. Slated to open in 2023, it will highlight and celebrate Indigenous visual arts, innovative modes of expression, and fresh art forms. The Ringling is located on the traditional Homelands and the ancestral territories of the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida, as well as the ancient tribes of the Calusa, Uzita and Tocobaga. The museums acknowledges the local freedom-seeking community called Angola, and the people later known as Black Seminoles. Wlusek will spend the next two years studying the complex history of the Seminole peoples, in particular from the 1800s to today, and the impacts acculturation has had on their customs and artistic expression. Warhol support will facilitate travel to the Seminole Tribe of Florida Tribal Historic Preservation Office, Big Cypress; South Florida State College Museum of Florida Art and Culture, Avon Park; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; Seminole Nation Museum, Wewoka, OK; National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, D.C.; Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, Santa Fe; and the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts in Santa Fe. Wlusek will also meet with experts, scholars, and historians, as well as conduct studio visits with Seminole, Miccosukee, and mixed-heritage artists. Through such meetings and networking, Wlusek will help establish an advisory group that will help guide exhibition development and process so that it aligns with protocols of the Tribes and will identify additional voices to be represented through the publication of the exhibition catalog and through related public programming.
Warhol painted more than 100 works related to Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper, which some have read as complex reckoning of his homosexuality, Catholicism, and mortality in response to witnessing AIDS devastate the gay community.