The Art of Jean LaMarr

January 28 – June 11, 2023

Jean LaMarr is an internationally recognized artist, educator, and Native American advocate with ancestral ties to Pyramid Lake, Nevada, and Susanville, California.  For decades, her work has sparked powerful and important conversations about cultural stereotypes, representations of Native women, legacies of colonization, and environmental justice.  Featuring paintings, prints, and sculptures, spanning from the 1970s to the present, The Art of Jean LaMarr honors this important artist and introduces new audiences to her work.

Jean LaMarr (born 1945) is descended from Wada Tukadu Numu (Northern Paiute) and Illmowi, Aporige, and Atsugewi (Pit River) ancestry.  She was born and raised in Susanville, California, and is an enrolled member of the Susanville Indian Rancheria, where she still lives.  In 1964, LaMarr relocated to San Jose, California, as part of the Indian Relocation Act.  In 1976, she graduated from UC Berkeley, where she became involved in politics and participated in protests, including the American Indian Occupation of Alcatraz (1969) and the Pit River Occupation in Shasta County (1970).  LaMarr largely built her artistic reputation as a skilled printmaker while teaching and practicing as an artist in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1970s and 80s.  She founded the Native American Graphic Workshop in Susanville in 1994, to help engage Native American youth and community members in art making.

This exhibition was organized by the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno, Nevada.

Carole K. Anderson
Nevada Arts Council
Kristi Overgaard
Sandy Raffealli | Bill Pearce Motors
The Phil and Jennifer Satre Family Fund at the Community Foundation of Western Nevada

Supporting Sponsors
Kathie Bartlett

Additional Support
In memory of Bernadette Kaye, sharing her culture.
Nevada Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities

This exhibition at the Boise Art Museum has been made possible in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, the state-based affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this exhibition do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Artist Jean LaMarr stands behind a glass-topped counter, wearing glasses, a purple jacket, and a purple apron. Tools and art supplies are visible on the counter as well hanging along the wall in the background.

My work focuses on pride in our heritage because the town I grew up in is very racist. I was proud of being Indian, but nothing was supportive of this. There was very little community activity, very little ceremony, very little traditional activity. But I knew something important was there and felt that something had to be done. – Jean LaMarr

LaMarr creates artwork that focuses on issues related to stereotypes and representations of Native American people. She often describes Native American men as “new warriors,” who combat cultural stereotypes—especially the “cowboy and Indian” myth of the American West that perpetuated the idea that Native American men were inferior to Euro-American men or “cowboys.”

A cowboy dressed in a yellow western shirt and purple hat and chaps stands with his hands on his hips, looking at the viewer. He is standing on a curved surface covered in a purple lace pattern. Behind him on the left, two aircraft fly in an arc across the purple sky, with trailing yellow and red streaks. In the foreground, three strands of barbed wire run horizontally across the lower half of the image.

Jean LaMarr, Some Kind of Buckaroo, 1990, screenprint, 22 x 30 inches, Collection of the Nevada Museum of Art, The Robert S. and Dorothy J. Keyser Foundation Art of the Greater West Collection Fund

In many of her artworks, LaMarr shows that native people are alive and thriving today and not only on Reservations but in cities and towns all around the nation. She shows Indigenous people in various settings – many modern – dressed in an assortment of attire. In Some Kind of Buckaroo, we see an Indigenous man in a cowboy hat and chaps, as fighter jets fly behind him. LaMarr Says, “He’s standing on the Earth and I made that out of lace… because Mother Earth is very delicate compared to the barbed wire. He’s kept in or caged in, or caged out, however you see it.”

Native people are alive, not specimens or relics of the past.” – Jean LaMarr

An illustration depicts two women with long, dark hair in the foreground, visible from the chest up. The woman on the left is leaning her head against the head of the other. They are wearing patterned shirts and long earrings, and one is wearing a beaded necklace and heart-shaped sunglasses. The image is mostly black and white, with red and purple accents added to the women’s lips, jewelry, eyelids and sunglasses.
An illustration of a woman with short dark hair, red cat-eye glasses, and a sleeveless purple shirt appears in the foreground, shown from the chest up. She is resting her head on her hand, with her elbow on a surface in front of her. In the background, a green pine tree and an older woman appear on the left, and a green palm tree appears on the right.
An illustration of a man standing with his hands in his pockets, facing the viewer. He is wearing sunglasses, a light tan knit cap, a tan plaid shirt, and purple pants. The tops of two green palm trees are visible in the background.

Left to right:
Jean LaMarr, Urban Indian Girls, 1982, etching
Jean LaMarr, Just Wanna Dance, 1983, mixed media
Jean LaMarr, Gangster Indian, 1985, screenprint

Collection of the Nevada Museum of Art, purchased with funds provided by the Orchard House Foundation


Ages 3-7 | Still This Love Goes On by Buffy Sainte-Marie (Author), Julie Flett (Illustrator)

Ages 5+ | We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom  (Author), Michaela Goade  (Illustrator)

Ages 12 + | An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People (Revisioning History for Young People) by Jean Mendoza, Debbie Reese

Adult | An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States: Revisioning American History by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

Printmaking ideas: Experimental Printmaking at Home by Rosemary Firth

Printmaking: History and Process by Donald Saff

Exhibition catalogues are available for purchase in the BAM Store.
$40.00 ($36.00 for BAM Members) + tax

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Make-It! Activity

Create a Trace Monoprint inspired by printmaking techniques in the exhibition The Art of Jean LaMarr.

A black-and-white line drawing of a house with an arched doorway and two windows. Trees and shrubs are visible in the yard.
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Printmaking Kits available for purchase in the BAM Store

Essdee Block Printing Kit for Kids
$26.00 ($23.40 for BAM Members) + tax

Yellow Owl Workshop Carve-A-Stamp Kit
$23.00 ($20.70 for BAM Members) + tax

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