Indian Burial For a Cultural Icon

This is the second of four pages about American Indian art and writing. Tomorrow: reprints from two notable books by Indian authors, and art by Fritz Scholder. Thursday: an interview with two novelists. `COMANCHE Ron Anderson's `Car Scaffold Burial' was unique in that the artist melded a traditional Indian form with his knowledge of the sophisticated concepts of modern environmental sculpture, while remaining outside and wholly indifferent to the establishment art system. The Mercury Cougar, wrapped in a funerary blanket and hoisted on a traditional Plains burial scaffold, was Anderson's private car. It was for years his transportation to his workplace, and his child was born in it. Then it was destroyed by a drunken driver whose insurance company refused to replace it. For Anderson this was tantamount to stealing a man's horse and leaving him footbound out on the prairie. From this predicament came a piece of unprecedented protest art which was highly theatrical, and which at the same time made a poignant statement about the necessity for mobility in both Indian and contemporary white society. The scaffold stood on property belonging to Anderson, where it was left to disintegrate among the elements of nature. Before this could happen, however, it was struck by lightning and destroyed.''

From the article ``Without Reservations: How Indian Is the New Indian Art?'' by Edwin L. Wade, published in ``Craft International,'' July-August-September 1987.

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