Published On: Sat, Apr 28th, 2012

Eiteljorg opens three new exhibitions

Eiteljorg opens three new exhibitions

Offerings explore Northwest Coast, Hopi cultures

INDIANAPOLIS—Fans of Native art can experience something new at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art as the institution unveils three new exhibitions, including a complete reimagining of its contemporary galleries. Northwest Coast Art: Contemporary Expression and Traditional Influence places traditional expressions of cultures next to edgier contemporary pieces highlighting the different ways artists present their cultures. Red, White, Blue and Black explores the aesthetic of these colors and their use by artists. Also, for the first time ever, the museum is making a culturally and artistically significant katsina carving collection available to the public in the exhibit, Compositions in Cottonwood: The Rader Collection of Hopi Katsina Carvings. The changes are part of an ongoing effort to keep the Eiteljorg guest experience fresh, in part, through regular changes to core galleries and interpretive materials.

Exploring the Northwest Coast

Brand new exhibits in the Betsey Harvey and Stan and Sandy Hurt Galleries illustrate the Native cultures and aesthetics of America’s Northwest Coast.

In the Harvey Gallery, Northwest Coast Art: Contemporary Expression and Traditional Influence juxtaposes historical works next to modern expressions both traditional and unexpected. A traditional mask representing Tlingit descendant groups, made in 2001 by artist Wayne Alfred, sits just in front of a striking work by Tlingit artist Tanis S’eiltin—a painting on rawhide affixed with three vials of blood (actually red wine), a reference to issues surrounding blood quantum in Native American cultures. The juxtaposition illustrates how artists can express their culture in very different ways.

The exhibit Red, White, Blue and Black, in the Hurt Gallery, explores the colors commonly found in Northwest Coast art

From Harry Fonseca’s (Maidu/Nisenan, Portuguese, Hawaiian) nearly monochromatic work, Red, Blue and Black, to Gerald Clarke’s (Cahuilla) pointed Manifest Destiny, a gumball machine festooned with American flags that appears to offer one-dollar bills for a quarter (something for nothing), the exhibition shows how artists from a host of Native cultures coast-to-coast use the striking palette in their work.

These exhibits will be open through October 2012.

Katsina carvings help express and inform about cultural heritage

With Compositions in Cottonwood: The Rader Collection of Hopi Katsina Carvings, for the first time ever, the Eiteljorg is exhibiting an incomparable collection of contemporary carvings, part of a larger collection being donated over time to the museum by Terry and Becky Rader .

“The Raders have collected only the best work by the most notable carvers,” said James Nottage, vice president and chief curatorial officer

“Their sophisticated understanding of the art and generosity in making this gift to the Eiteljorg will help to make the museum’s collection more compelling. The exhibit is beautiful and educational. It helps to confirm why such donors are so important to the museum.”

Katsina spirits are part of the belief system of the Hopi people of Arizona. For generations, carvings have represented katsina spirits and have been offered as gifts to children to help them learn about their culture and beliefs. Carved versions of these figures have become a highly specialized art form sought after by collectors.

Compositions in Cottonwood will be open through August 12.

The Eiteljorg Museum seeks to inspire an appreciation and understanding of the art, history and cultures of the American West and the indigenous peoples of North America. Through its Project New Moon campaign, the museum is attracting new audiences with dynamic new interpretations of its mission. The museum is located in Downtown Indianapolis’ White River State Park. For general information about the museum and to learn more about exhibits and events, call (317) 636-WEST (9378) or

Source & Photo Credit: Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art

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