Discover Dakota Modern: The Art of Oscar Howe

Discover Dakota Modern: The Art of Oscar Howe

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Oscar Howe in his studio, ca. 1968.
Oscar Howe papers, Richardson Collection,
Archives and Special Collections, University
Libraries, University of South Dakota

Dakota Modern: The Art of Oscar Howe brings one of the most renowned Native American painters in front of a new generation. Howe (1915–1983) was committed to creating and sharing art that expressed Yanktonai Dakota culture. He challenged the meaning of “Native American Art” and proved that it could both be modern and customary to the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ (Sioux) culture and aesthetics. Dakota Modern at the South Dakota Art Museum will be the most comprehensive collection of Howe’s work.

Book of Oscar Howe’s work available at SD Art Museum Gift Shop

The South Dakota Art Museum is the final stop for Dakota Modern which opens on June 10 and runs through September 17, 2023. The exhibit is curated by Kathleen Ash-Milby and organized by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian and the South Dakota Art Museum. It opened at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in March 2022, in New York City, and was on view through May 14, 2023 at the Portland Art Museum.

This collection features more than sixty works by Howe, including early works created in New Mexico and Oklahoma and a large selection of mature works painted by Howe during his many years living in South Dakota and teaching at the University of South Dakota (USD). Howe’s public works, such as the Corn Palace murals, are also touched upon in the exhibit. Dakota Modern draws upon collections from across the country, including many South Dakota collections. A large body of work from the Oscar Howe Collections at USD, and selections from the collections of the South Dakota Art Museum, the South Dakota State Historical Society, as well as private collectors from the state and beyond make up the exhibit.

Oscar Howe (Yanktonai Dakota, 1915–1983),
Woman Scalp Dancer, 1964. Casein on paper,
23 3/4 x 16 1/8 in. Oscar Howe Family
Collection, University Art Galleries, University
of South Dakota, Vermillion, HF OH 49

Opening Day Celebration | June 10

Join us to celebrate the opening of Dakota Modern: The Art of Oscar Howe at the South Dakota Art Museum with FREE events and activities throughout the day, including:

  • 9 am – 11 am | Curator Talk (Auditorium and Multipurpose Room)
  • 12 pm – 4 pm | Native American Performances and Activities on Anderson Plaza and the Campus Green
  • 6:30 pm – 8 pm | Panel Discussion with Students of Oscar Howe (Auditorium)

Throughout the day you’ll be able to explore this acclaimed national exhibition and the South Dakota Art Museum companion exhibit, Continuum: Honoring Oscar Howe’s Legacy. Food trucks, games and hands-on activities take place on Anderson Plaza behind the Museum.

Additional information about this exhibition is available at the South Dakota Art Museum. Contact or call 605-688-5423.

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