Oil on wool Pendleton blanket
57 x 77 x 2 in. (144.78 x 195.58 x 5.08 cm)
Gift of Todd B. Rosin & R. Todd Armstrong, 2019.008
Juventino Aranda created this painting by applying oil stick and paint to a striped Badlands National Park blanket from Pendleton Woolen Mills. The resulting fields of color evoke the paintings of Abstract Expressionist Mark Rothko (1903–1970) but are interrupted by a dripping mass of black paint that references the extraction of oil and other natural resources on national lands.
Pendleton has produced blankets based on Native American designs since the late 1800s. The blankets are often given as gifts and used in ceremonies in tribal communities, but in recent years they have also become expensive commodities trendy among consumers who have little knowledge of the designs’ origins or meanings. After touring one of Pendleton’s factories near his hometown of Walla Walla, Washington, Aranda began making works using the company’s discarded products, highlighting the ongoing appropriation and exploitation of Indigenous culture in American society.
The base of this artwork is a bold, striped wool blanket in a landscape orientation. At the center is a large, hunter green rectangle. The patterns on either side of this shape are symmetrical with varying widths of stripes in white, orange, khaki, buttercream, crimson, and navy. Slightly off-centered in the green rectangle is a painted copper rectangle, with a slight patina at the bottom. To the left of this, aligned with the top of the rectangle is a small, neon orange rectangle. Below this shape, matching its width, is a dark gray blob of paint dripping down.