The Lusk photos led to several others, with Winograde traveling the country in search of these elaborate re-creations, all of which are held in the middle of nowhere. They differ widely, not just in their details, but in their specific approaches. In the Lewis and Clark re-creation in Montana, for instance, there's a more theatrical quality, and the actors perform before a painted set erected outside. The set blends in subtly with the actual view of the hills beyond and provides a compelling aspect.
One of the most interesting groupings comprises the dueling re-creations about the massacre of General Custer, also performed in Montana. The Indians — in this case, members of the Crow tribe — restage the "Battle on the Little Bighorn" on their reservation. Not far away, modern-day descendants of the white settlers put on "Custer's Last Stand" outside the town of Hardin. They are both memorializing the same event, but in different ways. Now, here's an ironic twist: The Crow fought with Custer, but in the re-creation, they are playing the Sioux who fought against him.
"The Flaying," by Edie Winograde, archival inkjet on watercolor paper.
Winograde's photos exemplify postmodernism in many ways — too many, in fact, to fully explore. The most obvious is the notion of simulation, with the actors simulating historic figures and acting out simulations of historic events. But Winograde is also simulating her role, playing the part of a documentary photographer but producing non-documentary photos and recording something that is itself unreal. Plus, there's that whole postmodern hermeneutics going on. The re-creation actors are interpreting history based on previous interpretations, including Hollywood treatments of the West, while Winograde is making her own interpretations.
Milteer's pairing of these two bodies of work is brilliant and reveals a young curator who is among the top art-world talents on the Front Range and one of only a handful in the region capable of putting on a great show — or, in this case, two of them.