Wanton and sensuous in the Musée du Quai Branly: Gerald Vizenor's cosmoprimitivist visions of France
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The Anishinaabe novelist and postmodern cultural theorist Gerald Vizenor has a long-standing interest in France and French culture, which has come to the fore in his most recent work. This article examines the implications for his larger project, as revealed through the encounter between his Native American characters and a France depicted as an origin point of high modernist culture. By re-appropriating tropes and concepts from thinkers and artists such as Albert Camus, Marc Chagall and Edmond Jabés, in a narrative dominated by the figure of an Anishinaabe artist clearly modelled on George Morrison, Vizenor clearly attempts a revaluation of the category of the primitive so vital to modernist experimentation, reformulating it as "cosmoprimivitism". In doing so, however, he also intervenes in contemporary debates around the exhibition of "arts premiers" in the Musée du Quai Branly, with results that problematically complicate any assessment of his attempt to unify the categories of the indigenous and the postmodern.