NAME: Lloyd E. Oxendine  
NATION: Lumbee  




For over thirty years Lloyd Oxendine has dedicated his professional life to advocating Contemporary American Indian Art and artists in New York City. The focus of his work has been directed to educating the public and to engendering in them a greater awareness and appreciation of this uniquely American Art. His goal has always been to increase the audience for contemporary American Indian art and to see it included as a part of the mainstream art world. In order to accomplish this he has constantly utilized his diverse talents and skills as: a curator; an art historian; a lecturer; a consultant; and an artist.

Lloyd’s passion for this began in his youth when he was still studying to be become an artist. As a high-school student in North Carolina, Lloyd won an art scholarship to the University of North Carolina to study with Claude Howell, one of America’s pre-eminent regional artists. He left North Carolina, home of his Lumbee ancestors to pursue his studies in New York City. He enrolled in Columbia University where he received a BA in Art History and an MFA in Fine Arts. In 1973 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the London School of Design for his achievements.

It was during his graduate studies in art history at Columbia University that he was astonished at the lack of readily available information on Contemporary American Indian Art. The scarcity of material seemed incredible to him as this was a major university located in New York City, art capital of the world. He channeled all his energies into researching the subject. He collected slides and compiled all available information. Some of this research appeared in the ground breaking article he wrote for the periodical ART IN AMERICA “Twenty Three American Indian Artists.” In fact it was Lloyd who convinced Brian O’Doherty then editor of ART IN AMERICA to publish a special edition of the magazine devoted entirely to Contemporary American Indian Art. This resulted in ART IN AMERICA’S 1972 July/August SPECIAL ISSUE: AMERICAN INDIAN ART. Lloyd’s article appeared in this issue and has been the seminal research reference for scholars and students of Contemporary American Indian Art since that time.

Lloyd was a pioneer in the burgeoning of Soho as it was emerging as the new art center of New York City. In 1972 it was here that he opened the AMERICAN ART GALLERY. It was the first Contemporary North American Indian art gallery in New York City and probably the only one outside of the southwest. Lloyd was one of the first to show the works of the then emerging and now famous contemporary American Indian artists R.C. Gorman, George Morrison and Frank La Pena. The gallery received critical acclaim and caught the attention of the New York art establishment. Lloyd was now receiving offers to curate exhibits of Contemporary American Indian art in prestigious venues. He curated shows at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and at the Brooklyn Museum among others.

He closed the AMERICAN ART GALLERY in the mid 1970’s and spent the next decade in Europe and San Francisco. Lloyd returned to New York in 1985 to assume the position of Director/Curator of the American Indian Community House (AICH) Gallery/Museum. Despite limited funding he curated over forty, separately themed exhibits during his tenure at AICH. All of which included public lectures and educational components. Lloyd’s outreach initiative, public relations and publicity campaigns again attracted the attention of New York’s art establishment. Agnes Gund, then President of the Museum of Modern Art (now President Emeritus) was so impressed with his work at AICH that she wrote to Lloyd stating “In the many years I have been involved with the cultural activities of New York City… there are few which shine with the commitment and creative energy which we all want to see permeate the arts. I am pleased to note that your institution (AICH) is one of these places”.

Lloyd’s acknowledged expertise as an art historian and particularly an expert in Contemporary American Indian Art has resulted in numerous guest lectureships. These include but are not limited to: Columbia University, New York University, Hunter College, Parson School of Design, SUNY-Stony brook, CW Post College, Rhode Island School of Design, Institute of American Indian Arts (Sante Fe), University of Montana, and University of Minnesota, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, The Museum of Natural History, The National Museum of the American Indian, The Montclair Art Museum, The Arts & Business Council, The Kennedy Center Regional Art Conference, the National Association of Artist’s Organizations, The New York Alliance for Public Schools, and The United Nations.

Currently Lloyd is a member of the Multi-Cultural Advisory Committee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He has also served as special project consultant to numerous arts organizations including but not limited to The Rockefeller Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, The Xerox Corporation Exhibition, The Native American Arts Network, The Institute of American Indian Arts, The Guilford Native American Association, The North Carolina Indian Cultural Center, The Museum Education Consortium, The New York Foundation for the Arts, The College Art Association.

Lloyd has also served as a member on the panel of judges for The National Endowment for the Arts (Grants to Arts Organizations), The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian (Award for Art & Cultural Achievement, and individual artist’s grants), The Arts International Reader’s Digest/Lila Wallace Foundation Award, and The College Art Association (Scholarship Grants).

Reproductions of Lloyd’s artworks, and/or discussions of the works, and professional profiles of Lloyd Oxendine have been published in numerous books and periodicals including but not limited to: Native American Art in the Twentieth Century, The Lumbee, The New Indian Art, Fodor’s Indian America, National Geographic, The New York Times, New York Newsday. Additionally, he has been interviewed by Barbara Walters and Frank McGee on The Today Show, by John Hockenberry on National Public Radio, and has been featured in television news broadcasts—ranging from New York City local news programs, to those on Japanese National TV.

Lloyd has commented on his work by saying, “Whether art and social justice are to be considered on the same level is a question for me. What I do know is that Contemporary American Indian Art has an important place in America’s Art Establishment. After unlocking this door over thirty years ago, I continue to work to open it fully to the people of America”.

In Memorium