“Benteen, come on, be quick. Bring packs.” — George A. Custer (at Little Bighorn)
“It is a Good Day to Die” is one of many examples of my changing a context to borrow one myth to leverage another in order to release new energy that can then be examined. I stopped work on this comment on ambitions and mortality in 1995 due to demands for its exhibition and finally completed it in 2015. It borrows the subject, pose, and symbolism from Andrea Mantegna’s “San Sebastian”, while recasting Custer as a poster child for American arrogance. This fell out of my interest in Native culture that began when teenage-me went with church missionaries out West to convert the Red Man, but returned with the opposite result. “It is a good day to die,” is a classic Lakota rallying cry. Custer’s mismatched uniform comments on the Civil War surplus he and other Indian fighters were expected to use against sometimes superior armaments.