Across Borders: Beadwork in Iroquois Life December 9, 2001–May 19, 2002 George Gustav Heye Center, New York
With nimble fingers, keen eyes, and reservoirs of patience, the Iroquois people have long practiced the art of beadwork in communities in New York State, and in Quebec and Ontario, Canada. Across Borders is the story of Iroquois beadwork from pre-Contact times to the present. Featuring more than 300 examples of beadwork—including pincushions, bags, picture frames, and clothing—the exhibition shows how this singular art form has been linked to the identity and survival of the Iroquois people. Across Borders also demonstrates that beadwork has enabled Native and non-Native people to cross the cultural boundaries that have separated them.
Organized and circulated by the McCord Museum, Montreal, Quebec, and the Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University, NY, in collaboration with the Kanien'kehaka Onkwawen:na Raotitiohkwa, Kahnawake, the Tuscarora Nation community beadworkers within New York State, and the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto.
Agayuliyararput (Our Way of Making Prayer): The Living Tradition of Yup'ik Masks March 2, 1997–August 17, 1997 George Gustav Heye Center, New York
This exhibition features 166 Yup'ik Eskimo masks, including twenty-three masks and other objects from the NMAI collections. Masks on view include those collected from the Yukon, Kuskokwim, and coastal regions of southwestern Alaska.
All Roads Are Good: Native Voices on Life and Culture August 1, 1994–August 1, 2000 George Gustav Heye Center, New York
This inaugural exhibition presents the world views of indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere as reflected in more than 300 objects chosen by twenty-three Native Americans to illustrate the diversity and continuity of Native cultures. Among the objects on view are bandolier bags from the Ojibwe; robes and a parasol from the Lakota; and wood carvings from the Kwakiutl of British Columbia.
Ancient Mexican Art from the Collection of the National Museum of the American Indian July 21, 2002–March 15, 2003 George Gustav Heye Center, New York
For more than 2000 years, the Native peoples of ancient Mexico created art that expressed their values and beliefs. Using stone, wood, and metal, the Olmec, Zapotec, Toltec, Mixtec, Maya, and other indigenous groups developed an array of objects that portrayed their world in all its diversity and splendor.
Arctic Transformations: The Jewelry of Denise and Samuel Wallace March 2, 2006–July 23, 2006 George Gustav Heye Center, New York
This 25-year retrospective of jewelry artists Denise and Samuel Wallace includes 150 works created from silver, gold, fossil ivory and semiprecious stones and features 16 intricately crafted belts from early in the artists' career. The elaborate pieces refer to traditional images from Denise Wallace's Chugach Aleut heritage as well as contemporary issues and sources. Deer Dancer pin/pendant, 2002. Petrified whale bone, chrysoprase, sterling silver, fossil ivory, gold; height 3.5 in. Collection of Ruth and William Brooks.
Beauty, Honor, and Tradition: The Legacy of Plains Indian Shirts December 10, 2000–November 4, 2001 George Gustav Heye Center, New York
Featuring forty-nine visually stunning and spiritually powerful Plains Indian shirts from NMAI's collections, Beauty, Honor, and Tradition: The Legacy of Plains Indian Shirts explores the beauty, power, history, iconography, construction, and materials of Plains Indian shirts from the nineteenth and twentieth century. The shirts in Beauty, Honor, and Tradition served many purposes beyond their obvious use as clothing. In nineteenth-century communities from southern Canada to northern Texas, they were made to honor warriors and tribal leaders, to adorn spiritual leaders, and to channel animal power. The imagery on the shirts depicted important events, such as battles, and served to educate youth about the values of shirt-wearers�generosity, honor, and bravery. Today, the Plains shirt lives on in regalia worn at powwows and community celebrations, and in shirts and jackets made to honor achievements in academia and sports. NMAI curator George Horse Capture (A'aninin [Gros Ventre]) and his son, Joe Horse Capture (A'aninin [Gros Ventre]), curator at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, worked together to provide this exhibition with an illuminating wealth of insight and information, each contributing his unique perspective, and bringing that of the Indian communities they visited, on these powerful shirts. Beauty, Honor, and Tradition is presented in collaboration with the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
Booming Out: Mohawk Ironworkers Build New York April 26, 2002–October 24, 2002 George Gustav Heye Center, New York
This photographic exhibition portrays the history, contemporary lives, and achievements of Mohawk ironworkers from two Native communities: Akwesasne (which straddles Ontario, Quebec, and New York State) and Kahnawake (near Montreal). From the Empire State Building to the George Washington Bridge, and the glory that was the World Trade Center�Mohawk people helped build them all.
Mohawk ironworkers have built bridges and skyscrapers for more than 100 years. "Booming out" from Native communities in upstate New York and Canada in the early 1900s, they found jobs on windswept girders, and quickly earned a reputation for being top-notch workers. Today, Mohawk men still leave home in search of work, continuing a legacy of bravery that spans six generations.
Peter Skaronhiati Stacey (Mohawk), 3rd from left; Joseph Jocks (Mohawk), 4th from left; Peter Sakaronhiotane Rice (Mohawk), 6th from left; at Rockefeller Center, 1928. Photo by Lewis Hine. Courtesy of Bethlehem Steel.
Born of Clay: Ceramics from the National Museum of the American Indian November 5, 2005–May 20, 2007 George Gustav Heye Center, New York
Indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere have been making pottery for thousands of years, and for many Native people ceramics maintain a sense of profound meaning and purpose. The 301 remarkable pieces in this exhibition span 5,000 years and four distinct regions�the Andes, eastern North America, Mesoamerica, and the southwestern United States. These clay creations are explored as the products of ongoing, complex societies and individual artistry.
Born of Clay includes the ideas of eight potters from the four regions. These contemporary artists tell us that despite differences in the composition, form, and decoration of pottery, Native potters share respect for ancestral traditions, a belief in the sacredness of clay, and an appreciation for the changing use of ceramics. Their voices reveal stories of continuity and change across millennia.
Jaina-style Maya figure of the ruler Halach Huinik, AD 400–800. Campeche, Mexico. Molded and painted ceramic. 23/2216. Photo by NMAI Photo Services.
Continuum: 12 Artists April 26, 2003–January 2, 2005 George Gustav Heye Center, New York
This 18-month exhibition series features a changing selection of works by 12 contemporary Native American artists who represent the next generation of art begun by George Morrison (1919-2000, Grand Portage Band of Chippewa) and Allan Houser (1914-94, Warm Springs Chiricahua Apache), two major figures of 20th-century Native American art. All 12 knew Morrison or Houser personally or indirectly and were influenced by their example as successful creators or through their careers as educators. Like Morrison and Houser, these artists draw from a variety of influences, inside and outside art schools and universities, exploring new directions and establishing reputations as groundbreakers in the realm of contemporary art and Native American art history.
Currently on view are installations by Marie Watt (Seneca) and Jaune Quick-To-See-Smith (Salish/Cree/Shoshone). Other artist in the series include Kay WalkingStick, Rick Bartow, Joe Feddersen, Harry Fonseca, Hachivi Edgar Heap of Birds, George Longfish, Judith Lowry, Nora Naranjo-Morse, Shelley Niro, Jaune Quick-to-See-Smith, Marie Watt, and Richard Ray Whitman. The artists represent the Arapaho, Cherokee, Cheyenne, Colville, Cree, Flathead, Hamowi–Pit River, Hawaiian, Mohawk, Mountain Maidu, Nisenan Maidu, Pueblo Santa Clara, Seneca, Shoshone, Tuscarora, Yuchi, and Yurok cultures. Flag Study, 2003 by Marie Watt. Reclaimed wool blankets, 12 x 17.75"
Creation's Journey: Masterworks of Native American Identity and Belief August 1, 1994–June 1, 1996 George Gustav Heye Center, New York
This inaugural exhibition features 165 major objects from the museum's permanent collection. The objects come from 200 different tribal groups from North, Central, and South America, dating from 3200 B.C. to the 20th century. Among the objects on view are Kiowa, Osage, and Yuma cradleboards; Sioux and Comanche dresses; and Potawatomi, Seminole, and Huichol dolls.
Edge of Enchantment December 15, 2002–August 3, 2003 George Gustav Heye Center, New York
Edge of Enchantment presents a multimedia presentation of the ceremonial landscapes, histories, lives, and traditions of contemporary Native communities in the Huatulco-Huamelula region of Oaxaca, Mexico. Incorporating photographs, music, video, and objects to illustrate the complex relationship of these peoples with their environments, the exhibition centers on the encantos, or enchantments, of each individual community. Physical spaces of mystery and power that lead to an unknown world, these enchanted places are integrally woven into the story of each hamlet, village or town, and inform the identity, beliefs, and dreams of each community.
First American Art: The Charles and Valerie Diker Collection of American Indian Art April 24, 2004–May 29, 2006 George Gustav Heye Center, New York
In First American Art: The Charles and Valerie Diker Collection of American Indian Art, the National Museum of the American Indian is privileged to explore the powerful aesthetic traditions of Native Americans through the extraordinary collection of New Yorkers Charles and Valerie Diker. This exhibition is the collaborative product of a group of Native and non-Native artists, art historians, critics, writers, and anthropologists from NMAI and across North America who gathered to discuss a new paradigm for the articulation of Native American art.
Exhibition curators Bruce Bernstein and Gerald McMaster (Plains Cree and member of the Siksika Nation) describe the group's development of the exhibition in this way: "Through our conversations, we arrived at seven principles that guided us in appreciating the breathtaking range of beautiful objects in the Dikers' collection: idea, emotion, intimacy, movement, integrity, vocabulary, and composition. Instead of organizing this exhibition around artistic regions or object type, we used these seven principles to guide our curatorial vision. We hope they will help visitors to understand these objects as true works of art as well as significant cultural objects."
Rattle, c. 1780, artist unknown, Tsimshian. Wood, hair, bone, nails, pigment, sinew, rattling materials, 37 x 20 x 14 cm. Coin bowl, c. 1820, Lapulimeu, Chumash. Dyed and undyed juncus stems, 18 x 47 cm.
George Catlin and His Indian Gallery February 26, 2005–September 5, 2005 George Gustav Heye Center, New York
Organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum, this exhibition will present over 100 works by George Catlin (1796-1872), a lawyer turned painter who decided that he would devote his life to recording the life and culture of American Indians of the Plains.
The exhibition is organized chronologically and tells the story of Catlin's epic journeys across the Plains following the Lewis and Clark trail. The exhibition and accompanying book describe, for the first time, Catlin's connections to the Smithsonian Institution.
Stu-mick-o-súcks, Buffalo Bull's Back Fat, Head Chief, Blood Tribe,Blackfoot/Kainai, 1832, George Catlin. Oil, 29 x 24 in. (73.7 x 60.9 cm). Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.
Gifts of Pride and Love: Kiowa and Comanche Cradles March 4, 2001–May 27, 2001 George Gustav Heye Center, New York
Exhibiting beautiful expressions of Kiowa and Comanche bead design, Gifts of Pride and Love: Kiowa and Comanche Cradles features thirty-eight Kiowa and Comanche historical lattice cradles. Two cradles in the show were created especially for the exhibition—one by a Kiowa artist and one by a Comanche artist. Included in the exhibition is a series of videos and an exhibition catalogue, with articles written by descendants of cradle makers examining the role of cradles in reinforcing ethnic identity and emphasizing women's artistic expressions. Barbara A. Hail, deputy director and curator of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, Brown University, in collaboration with the Kiowa/Comanche Consulting Committee, curated this major traveling exhibition.
Lattice cradles—known as paih'dodi in Kiowa and waakohno in Comanche—were the preferred type of cradle in the southern Plains among the Kiowa and Comanche from about 1870 to 1910. The lattice cradle is made of a hide, canvas, or wool cover placed over rawhide supports and laced to two narrow pointed boards and two narrower cross pieces, forming a lattice construction. Kiowa cradle covers are normally heavily embroidered with glass beads, while Comanche cradles often are undecorated on the cover, but with paint, incised, and tack decoration on the boards. Many of the elders have expressed their belief that the upright position of the cradleboard helps to "socialize" babies because it puts them at eye level with adults.
A few Kiowa and Comanche specialists continue to make these exquisite and practical works of art. The cradles, which are among the most beautiful expressions of Plains Indian bead design of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, are technically intricate, brilliant in color and design, and practical in function. They have become a symbol of cultural pride and bittersweet nostalgia for contemporary Kiowa and Comanche people.
Great Masters of Mexican Folk Art from the Collection of Formento Cultural Banamex, A.C. July 21, 2002–March 15, 2003 George Gustav Heye Center, New York
This exhibition showcases 181 master artists from all 31 states of the Mexican Republic. These artists represent many diverse traditions, including 21 indigenous cultures from 19 of those states. The great masters employ a wide array of materials including clay, plant fibers, wood, metals, cotton, wool, silk, paper, stone, leather, shell, wax, feathers and glass. Many of the artists use techniques handed down from one generation to the next, often within the same families and villages. The resulting works of art reveal the artists� connections to their communities, land, traditions, and cultures.
Indian Humor May 31, 1998–August 2, 1998 George Gustav Heye Center, New York
This exhibition features eighty-seven artworks by thirty-eight leading contemporary Native American visual artists. Organized by American Indian Contemporary Arts (AICA), Indian Humor draws on various aspects of Native culture and historical events to explore what is considered humorous in contemporary Native culture. David Bradley (Ojibwa), Monopoly, 1984. Stone lithograph, 27.94 x 35.56 cm.
Instrument of Change: Jim Schoppert Retrospective Exhibition, 1947–1992 October 3, 1999–February 6, 2000 George Gustav Heye Center, New York
This exhibition features the works of German–Tlingit artist Robert James Schoppert (1947–1992), one of the most prodigious and influential Alaskan artists of the 20th century. Organized by the Anchorage Museum of History and Art and the Anchorage Museum Association, the show includes more than fifty examples of the many styles in which he worked. As a visual artist, poet, and essayist, Schoppert was an eloquent spokesperson for Alaskan Native artists, and indeed, for artists everywhere.
ItuKiagâtta! Inuit Sculpture from the Collection of the TD Bank Financial Group November 11, 2006–February 4, 2007 George Gustav Heye Center, New York
"ItuKiagâtta!," a Labrador Inuktitiut phrase meaning "how it amazes us," presents many works created by Inuit artists from the 1950s and 1960s—a period of great upheaval for Canada's indigenous Arctic communities. TD Bank Financial Group, which marked its 150th anniversary in 2005, began assembling its Inuit art collection to mark Canada's centennial in 1967. The original collection contained sculptures, prints, drawings and ceramics, by artists from across the Canadian Arctic, with an emphasis on the period between World War II and 1967. The collection now includes 610 works.
Pauta Salila, Bear, 1964. Stone and ivory, 43.1 x 41.2 x 41.9 cm, TD Financial Group.
James Luna: Emendatio June 9, 2005–November 6, 2005
Artist James Luna's work for the 2005 Biennale di Venezia is titled Emendatio, a Latin word whose English translation is "emendation." The definition speaks of "the act of altering for the better, or correcting what is erroneous or faulty; improvement; removal of errors or corruption."
Through emotionally compelling performances and installations, James Luna, a member of the La Jolla Band of Mission (Luiseño) Indians, has dramatically expanded the language, territory, and possibilities of Indian art. His art—infused with humor, irony, and penetrating insight—confronts and challenges commonly held perceptions about Native Americans.
Emendatio is a work in three parts: a performance and two installations. The project collapses the time between 1834 and 2005, and the space between Italy and California. Emendatio claims Venice as part of Indian history, and in so doing demonstrates a belief held by James Luna and many other Native people: that every place is a Native place.
Legends of Our Times: Native Ranching and Rodeo Life on the Plains and the Plateau May 17, 2003–March 7, 2004 George Gustav Heye Center, New York
Legends of Our Times traces the history of Native people as buffalo hunters, horsemen, ranchers, cowboys, and as entertainers and participants in the sport of rodeo. With 700 objects, including saddles, blankets, clothing, and horse equipment, the exhibition presents the connections between traditional Plains and Plateau cultures and animals like the horse, buffalo, and dog�and how these connections influenced the Native cowboy's perspective on ranching and rodeo life.
Listening to Our Ancestors: The Art of Native Life Along the North Pacific Coast February 3, 2006–January 2, 2007 NMAI on the National Mall, Washington, DC
Listening to Our Ancestors explores how Native people along the coast of Washington State, British Columbia, and Alaska continue time-honored practices in an ever-changing modern world. The exhibition features more than 400 ceremonial and everyday objects, as well as commentary from representatives of eleven contemporary North Pacific Coast Native nations.
The exhibition includes a wide variety of pieces, from intricately woven and ornamented dance blankets to halibut fishing hooks, finely carved and painted masks of supernatural creatures to spoons carved from the horns of mountain goats. Each object reflects the creativity of people whose art has been collected by museums worldwide for more than a century.
Memory and Imagination: The Legacy of Maidu Indian Artist Frank Day February 15, 1998–May 8, 1998 George Gustav Heye Center, New York
This exhibition features forty-nine paintings and drawings by Maidu artist Frank Day (1902–76), a self-taught painter from California. Organized by the Oakland Museum of California, Memory and Imagination explores Day's life, art, and legacy through historical photographs, Maidu artifacts, autobiographical paintings, selected personal items, as well as through works by three living Maidu artists—Dal Castro, Harry Fonseca, and Judith Lowry.
New Tribe: New York January 29, 2005–April 9, 2006 George Gustav Heye Center, New York
Lorenzo Clayton's (Navajo) large-scale assemblages and mixed media works-on-paper comprises the final installation of New Tribe: New York.
Clayton, who currently teaches printmaking at The Cooper Union in New York City and at Parsons School of Design, believes that the Manhattan area radiates a powerful, urban spirituality stemming from its immense cultural diversity. In Expeditions of the Spirit, part of the ongoing exhibition series New Tribe: New York, Clayton expresses this influence in large installations as well as in intricate works on paper dating from the early 1980s, all of which interweave religious and philosophic world views. Mythistoryquest: Christianity/Crucifixion (detail), 2002-06. Mixed media, 243.8 x 254 x 137.26 cm. Collection of the artist. Photo by William Phipps.
Newborn Ancestors: The Art and Articles of Plains Indian Children March 4, 2001–May 27, 2001 George Gustav Heye Center, New York
Cradleboards and other baby carriers, clothing and games dating from the late nineteenth century to the early twentieth century are among some 80 objects from NMAI's collection that will be on view in Newborn Ancestors: The Art and Articles of Plains Indian Children. This exhibition explores traditions important both in the past and today that enrich a Plains Indian child's life from infancy through young adulthood. The show includes historical and contemporary photographs and hands-on activities that correspond to the phases of childhood development and to the many Native peoples of the Great Plains region. The first section of the exhibition —"Infancy"—showcases cradleboards and other styles of baby carriers and provides insight into family events that are held throughout a child's first year. The second section—"Early Years"—features children's clothing, which often was unique to a tribe or small group of tribes, and distinguished a small child as a member of a particular tribe, such as Pawnee, Cheyenne or Assiniboine. The final section of the exhibition—"Growing Up"—features several Plains Indian games, including games of luck and skill. Games often prepared a Plains child for the demands of adult life. Newborn Ancestors first exhibited at the San Francisco Airport in collaboration with the San Francisco Airports Commission. Co-curators are NMAI's George Horse Capture (A'aninin) and Cécile Ganteaume.
R.C. Gorman: Early Prints and Drawings, 1966–1974 September 16, 2006–January 28, 2007 George Gustav Heye Center, New York
This exhibition of 28 drawings and lithographs by Navajo artist R. C. Gorman (1931–2005) reveals the artist's early work with the nude, and foreshadows the monumental women and Indian "madonnas" that later brought the artist international acclaim. Also featured are less well-known prints such as a rare self-portrait, a series based on Navajo weaving designs, and Yeibi-Chai, a print reproduced as a poster for his 1975 solo exhibition at the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation. R. C. Gorman, Self-Portrait, 1973. Lithograph print on paper, 16/60. 33.2 x 24.3 cm. Printed at Tamarind Institute.
Reservation X: The Power of Place April 9, 2000–August 20, 2000 George Gustav Heye Center, New York
This exhibition, organized by the Canadian Museum of Civilization, presents seven Native contemporary artists who examine concepts of community and identity. Recently, many Native artists have returned home to the communities of their ancestors, and have begun to reflect on the meaining of community, a trend that inspired this project. The installations in Reservation X showcase the diversity of Native identity and the extent of the influence that power of place has on us all.
Seth Eastman Watercolors: A Soldier Artist Among the Dakota April 5, 2001–October 7, 2001 George Gustav Heye Center, New York
Organized by NMAI and Afton Historical Society Press, in cooperation with the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, this exhibition displays the entire W. Duncan MacMillan collection of 56 watercolors�some never before on public display�by soldier-artist Seth Eastman. Acknowledged as one of America's greatest ethnological painters, Eastman's watercolors have become some of the most important visual records of everyday Dakota life during the 19th century in Minnesota. His oil paintings, commissioned by Congress in 1860, still hang in the U.S. Capitol. Eastman's works are also included in collections around the world, including the Peabody Library at Harvard University and the Newberry Library in Chicago. Many of his works are featured in the exhibition's catalog, written by Marybeth Lorbiecki, and published by Afton Historical Society Press. The book explores Eastman's life and career as an Army officer and painter who came to know the Dakota better than any other painter in America. Financial support for the exhibition has been provided by Afton Historical Society Press.
Spirit Capture: Native Americans and the Photographic Image July 22, 2001–July 21, 2002 George Gustav Heye Center, New York
Featuring nearly 200 photographs from NMAI's vast archive of 125,000 images, Spirit Capture surveys the development of photography and the history of Native American life in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Approximately twenty objects from the museum's collections and nearly twenty contemporary photographs and artworks are included in the exhibition to help communicate Native perspectives on the cultural history and experiences of Native peoples in the past century and a half. Since the first known photograph of a Native American was made in Great Britain in 1845, depictions and interpretations of depictions of Native peoples have evolved to reveal greater understandings about the lives recorded in the images. In considering both the photographer and subject, as well as the viewer, Spirit Capture seeks to provide understanding of the people in the photographs, while examining the roles and motives of those who created the images. The exhibition also invites Native American photographers and artists, inheritors of this legacy of image-making, to offer their responses to the photographs and the ideas they represent.
Stories of the People August 10, 1996–January 25, 1998 George Gustav Heye Center, New York
This exhibition presents stories of tribal origin and identity told by artists and scholars from six tribal and regional groups. NMAI's first exhibition on the National Mall—presented as part of the Smithsonian's 150th anniversary celebrations—Stories of the People features 190 objects from the museum's vast collections.
Telling a Crow Story: The Photographs of Richard Throssel May 3, 2003–July 27, 2003 George Gustav Heye Center, New York
This exhibition of 32 historical images of the Crow people by Richard Throssel (1882–1933) includes portraits, commercial photographs, and documentary images taken from 1902 to 1911. Present-day Crow (Apsaalooke) tribal members provide commentary.
The Art of Being Kuna: Layers of Meaning Among the Kuna of Panama September 13, 1998–March 21, 1999 George Gustav Heye Center, New York
This exhibition, organized and developed by the UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History, features some 300 objects representing the aesthetic outlook of the Kuna of Panama. Highlighted in this exhibition are richly decorated applique blouses�the molas for which the Kuna are world-renowned. This exhibition offers a comprehensive survey of the world view of the Kuna, exploring their adaptability to the influences of the outisde world and the strength and vibrancy of their living culture.
The Language of Native American Baskets: From the Weavers' View September 20, 2003–January 9, 2005 George Gustav Heye Center, New York
This exhibition features more than 200 baskets from the NMAI collection and presents basketmaking according to the Native cultural viewpoint, focusing on the process of making a basket rather than on the finished basket as an object. Ear of Corn, 2003. Theresa Hoffman, Peneobscot (Waterville, Maine). Natural and dyed wicker-plaited black-ash splints with wart weave overlay. Diam. 10 cm., height 42 cm.
The New Old World: Antilles�Living Beyond the Myth November 2, 2002–April 20, 2003 George Gustav Heye Center, New York
Although the indigenous cultures of the Antilles were nearly destroyed after European contact, Native communities survived in the Cordillera Central area of Puerto Rico, the Cibao region in the Dominican Republic, the Cuban Sierras, and in the islands of Dominica and Trinidad. Photographer Marisol Villanueva has traveled extensively through these regions since 1999, documenting Native peoples, traditions, and landscapes. These photographs, on view in The New Old World, alongside local oral histories and Villanueva's diary entries, present the region's indigenous people and their traditions, including the preparation of cassava bread, canoe making, knitting and traditional weaving, and local ceremonies. The exhibition also illustrates the revitalization of Taino cultural identity among descendants in the islands of Puerto Rico and Cuba. Photo � 2002 Marisol Villanueva.
This Path We Travel: Celebrations of Contemporary Native American Creativity August 1, 1994–August 1, 1995 George Gustav Heye Center, New York
This inaugural installation is a collaboration of fifteen Native painters, sculptors, writers, musicians, and dancers. The exhibition features sculpture, performance, poetry, music, and video.
To Honor and Comfort: Native Quilting Traditions October 19, 1997–January 4, 1998 George Gustav Heye Center, New York
This exhibition, co-organized by NMAI and the Michigan State University Museum, explores the importance of quilt-making in Native Hawaiian and North American Indian communities. The work of Native quilters is deeply rooted in their cultural heritage, yet also reflects individual ideas or visions. The wide variety of quilts in this show provide a deeper understanding of Native life in the 20th century.
Virgil Ortiz: La Renaissance Indigène May 6, 2006–September 24, 2006 George Gustav Heye Center, New York
Virgil Ortiz (Cochiti Pueblo, b. 1969) is an artist whose work defies easy definition. He is a ceramicist, sculptor, jeweler, painter, fashion designer, trendsetter, and provocateur. Situated between the traditions of his Native community and the expansive frontier of the international art world, Ortiz's work is personal, electric, and audacious.
Ortiz, who began making pottery with his family at the age of six, has adapted the artistic techniques and principles of Cochiti traditions to his innovative multimedia works. By adding provocative details to his figures, Ortiz continues Cochiti's use of figurative pottery as social critique. The artist's signature calligraphic style, use of diverse textures and media, and uninhibited approach to contemporary subjects are magnified in this new body of work, including ceramics and his first couture fashion collection.
Virgil Ortiz: La Renaissance Indigène was organized by the Heard Museum, Phoenix, Arizona, and curated by Joe Baker (Delaware Tribe of Indians), Lloyd Kiva New Curator of Fine Art.
Virgil Ortiz, Master & 2 Tics (detail), 2002. Cochiti red clay, white clay slip, red clay slip, black (wild spinach) paint, 69 x 38 x 30 cm. Collection of Cyndy and Bob Gallegos. Photo by Chad Tanner.
who stole the teepee? October 1, 2000–January 21, 2001 George Gustav Heye Center, New York
During the past 100 years, missionaries, soldiers, teachers, government officials, and social reformers stripped Native peoples of much of the lifeways their ancestors had cultivated for thousands of years. Did they steal the tee pee? Or did they create a situation in which some Indians were more than willing to give it up? A collaboration with Atlatl, Inc., a non-profit arts organization based in Phoenix, Arizona, this exhibition features the works of thirty-five contemporary Native artists examining the impact of those changes�social, political, cultural, and personal. The artists look back in order to understand what their ancestors experienced during the period of forced assimilation, boarding school education, and relocation to distant cities.
Will Wilson: Auto Immune Response May 6, 2006–September 24, 2006 George Gustav Heye Center, New York
As a photographer and installation artist, Will Wilson (Diné/Bilagaana, b. 1969) creates a deliberate counter narrative to romantic visions of Native people living in an unchanging past. Though born in San Francisco, he draws inspiration from the many years he spent living on the Navajo Reservation as a child.
In Auto Immune Response, Wilson offers a powerful vision of a postapocalyptic future. This imagined environment includes comforting symbols of cultural persistence, such as a hogan (a traditional Navajo dwelling), coexisting with computers, wires, and futuristic furnishings. By constructing a steel hogan in the gallery, Wilson transforms the visitor from observer to participant. Enveloped by the artist's landscape, we are asked to consider our own place in the universe and, as exhibition curator Joe Baker from the Heard Museum states, "the complex environmental and social issues that are a consequence of contemporary society."
Will Wilson: Auto Immune Response was organized by the Heard Museum, Phoenix, Arizona, and curated by Joe Baker (Delaware Tribe of Indians), Lloyd Kiva New Curator of Fine Art.
Will Wilson, Auto Immune Response #5 (detail), 2004. Archival inkjet print, 112 x 277 cm. Collection of the artist.
Woven by the Grandmothers: Nineteenth-Century Navajo Textiles from the National Museum of the American Indian January 1, 1996–January 1, 1997 George Gustav Heye Center, New York
Woven by the Grandmothers made its debut in 1996 at the National Museum of the American Indian's George Gustav Heye Center in Manhattan. After a highly successful run at the GGHC, the exhibition traveled to the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, Arizona. Since then, this unique exhibition has also been shown at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., and The Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona. Woven by the Grandmothers also completed a 14-month tour of Latin America, where it was shown in museums in Montevideo, Uruguay; Guatemala City, Guatemala; La Paz, Bolivia; Santiago, Chile; and Mexico City, Mexico. It is the first exhibition in recent years to bring Smithsonian collections to venues outside of the United States. Drawn from one of the world's largest collections of Navajo wearing blankets woven between 1825 and 1880, the forty objects presented in Woven by the Grandmothers include chief blankets, finely woven poncho sarapes, traditional two-piece dresses known as biil, women's shoulder blankets, mantas, shawls, and soft utility blankets, called diyogí.