Super Catcher Vast Array, 2018

Installation view: Makeshift, John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, USA. Photo: Rich Maciejewski, 2019

Installation of four Super Catchers made of wire, pow wow jingles, and bells, 
325 x 330 x 13 cm, 198 x 168 x 15 cm, 175 x 178 x 15 cm, 223 x 106 x 25 cm
Commissioned by TBA21 Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary

Brad Kahlhamer’s position is shaped by personal history and the long shadow of nation-building processes. Born of Indigenous descent, Kahlhamer was adopted by German‐American parents and eventually moved from his birthplace Tucson, Arizona to Wisconsin and from there to New York in 1982. His life experience, defined by the disjointed conditions of federal adoption policies in the USA, meant that his origins were marked by secrecy and a lack of identifiable tribal affiliation, an experience shared by many Indigenous adoptees of a so-called “stolen generation.”
Super Catcher, Vast Array takes up one of the paramount and most exploited symbols in Indigenous cultures. In the Ojibwe and Lakota cultures, the dreamcatcher is a protective charm for infants, hung above children’s cribs to protect them from nightmares, misfortunes, and evils, which are caught in the web and burned by the morning sun. Part of a series of dreamcatcher sculptures Kahlhamer had started working on in 2011, Super Catcher, Vast Array assumes the shape of four large-scale dreamcatchers, made of wire and outfitted with bells.

The dreamcatchers that can be bought at trading posts or gift shops are made of natural materials such as sage and sinew. Kahlhamer’s dreamcatchers are made of materials intended to give them “a New York punk Bowery attitude, like the tremors of guitar strings in a loud solo.” Referring to the origin of the “Super Catchers” series, the artist describes his idea “of taking every dreamcatcher in the United States, whether it’s on a pick-up truck or in a single-wide trailer, somebody’s bicycle or baby crib, and weaving them all together in a cosmos, a universe of industrial wire. The spiritual rebar for an enriched dream reactor.” 


Group show: Remedios
Venue: C3A Centro de Creación Contemporánea de Andalucía, Córdoba
Curator: Daniela Zyman
Exhibition 14 April 2023 -  March 2024

Born in Tucson, Arizona, USA, in 1956. Lives in New York and Mesa, Arizona, USA.