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Eiteljorg Musuem Blog
  • Exciting New Objects in the Native American Galleries

    by James H. Nottage, Eiteljorg vice president and chief curatorial officer | Oct 03, 2014

           













    Delicate pendants by Kevin Cranmer in the Northwest Coast section of the Native American galleries. (pictures 1 and 2)
     
     Change, as the saying goes, is inevitable at the Eiteljorg Museum. If you have not visited the Native American Galleries for a while, there are wonderful new acquisitions that you should see.  Changes themselves come about for two primary reasons. Some objects are taken off of exhibit so that they are not overexposed to damaging light. Some objects are placed on exhibit because they are new acquisitions that allow us to tell stories more effectively. Some changes are subtle while others are more dramatic.

                While it is not obvious, there are new prints and fiber art on exhibit in the gallery that explores the art of Alaskan and Inuit peoples. By contrast, the Northwest Coast section is featuring two splendid carved masks and a panel by  Kwakwaka’wakw artists  Ryan Cranmer and Richard Patterson along with a carved and painted panel by David Boxley, Tsimshian. One new case features seven beautiful carved and painting miniature pendants by Kevin Cranmer. The biggest changes are in the Southwest and California sections.  An open platform featuring California baskets has been replaced with a huge exhibit case with many examples of Apache and California baskets.  These splendid objects are from many different donors, but highlights are from the Mel and Joan Perelman, Helen Cox Kersting, and Brook and Margaret Berger collections. They range from miniatures to examples over three feet high. Finally, the open panel that features Navajo and Apache weavings and garments has been completely re-done to feature important historical and contemporary weavings from the Kersting Collection. A number of these have never been shown before and are now available for your enjoyment for the first time.
     
    The rug on the left by Rose Benally (Navajo), was commissioned by donor Helen Cox Kersting through the Heard Museum Shop in Phoenix, Arizona. It was presented to the Eiteljorg in 2005 to commemorate Jingle Rails: The Great Western Adventure. If you look very closely, you'll see trains running across tracks.

               These changes are a collaboration between several of our curators and the exhibitions and collections departments.  They give new vitality to the galleries, especially as we move toward a new season of school group visitors.

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  • Mink Coat, Coach Bags, McAfee Football, and more | Place Your Bid Oct. 18 at Buckaroo Bash

    by Sarah Farthing, Eiteljorg individual and event coordinator | Oct 03, 2014

    On Oct. 18, we invite you to don your finest cowboy attire, leather, lace and saloon wear as you step back into the wild West at the 17th annual Buckaroo Bash. By attending, not only do you get to dance the night away to the Flying Toasters and watch talented chefs face off in a scrumptious dessert battle, you also get the chance to bid on high-end items and unforgettable experiences such as:

    • A stay at the Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch situated on 15,000 acres of Rocky Mountain wilderness in Saratoga, WY.

    • Two pieces of fine accessories from Windsor Jewelry

    • A one-week stay for a group at Palace by the Sea on the majestic Mexican Riviera Coast

    • Four one-day Park Hopper passes good for the Magic Kingdom® Park, Epcot®, Disney's Hollywood Studios®, or Disney's Animal Kingdom®

    • A behind the scenes tour of the Indianapolis Zoo

    Here are just a few of the hundreds of silent auction items up for bid at this year's Buckaroo Bash! 



    Natural Long Mink Coat Stay warm and stylish in this full-length Natural Ranch Mink coat by Indianapolis-based company L. Strauss, in pristine condition. Value: $4,000 





    Coach Black Madison Phoebe Shoulder Bag

    Crafted in hand-worked Italian leather by Coach, this popular Phoebe shoulder bag is styled in black with gold fixtures and a center metallic clasp. Value: $358

      



    Coach Vermillion Satchel

    Own this Coach vermillion satchel crafted of genuine soft leather with silver hardware. This purse has two zip compartments and one main large compartment with magnetic button. Value: $225 





    Colts' Football Autographed by Pat McAfee

    Own an autographed NFL football by punter Pat McAfee #1 of the Indianapolis Colts. Value: $100 

     



    Four Walt Disney World Park Hoppers

    Live the magic with four one-day Park Hopper passes valid for admission at the Walt Disney World Resort including the Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney's Animal Kingdom. Value: $536

     



    Coach Signature Design Dog Collar

    Make your pooch the talk of the dog park with this signature "C" grey and black Coach collar complete with a fire hydrant tag and leather backing. Value: $68

     



    Silver Inlay Multi-color Bracelet

    This cuff bracelet created by Indian Market & Festival artist Frank Chee (Navajo, Dine) is crafted in sterling silver and a variety of inlaid stones. Value: $245

     



    Original Oil Painting by Charles Sultan

    Add to your personal art collection with this original oil painting by renowned artist Charles Sultan entitled Old Mojave. Value: $1,500 

     



    Large Pendleton Tote Bag

    Own this large brown leather base Pendleton bag; perfect for a trip out West or a short weekend away. Value: $298

     



    Songs of Summer Sculpture

    Own this one-of-a-kind stone sculpture, Songs of Summer, created by

    Eiteljorg Indian Market & Festival artist Walter Torres (Acoma Pueblo) from the Pueblo of Acoma. Torres' style of carving has been influenced by the teachings of grid systems he learned at the Poeh Arts Center in Pojoqaque. Value: $1,500

     



    Wonder Stone Salmon Sculpture

    Take home this three wonder stone salmon sculpture on a stone base. This beautiful piece was hand crafted by Indian Market & Festival artist Sam Dimmick (Inupiat Eskimo). Value: $325

     Proceeds from the Buckaroo Bash support educational programming for more than 24,000 school-age children that visit the museum annually. The price is $200 a head. Secure your time traveler’s pass, by calling, 317.275.1333.

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  • The Kersting Collection of Southwestern Cultural Arts

    by James H. Nottage, Eiteljorg vice president and chief curatorial officer | Oct 03, 2014

              

               Have you visited the Eiteljorg’s Native American galleries lately? Changes began taking place in July and the major reason for this is that we have taken the opportunity to feature donations from Helen Cox Kersting in the Southwest and California sections.  Helen has continued to actively support the museum, joining us with her companion Donald DeWitt at the 25th anniversary gala in late May. Just a few short weeks ago, collections and curatorial staff visited their home in Arizona to pack and move the last of Helen’s collection to Indianapolis. To date, Helen Kersting has donated an astonishing collection of jewelry, pottery, weavings, Katsina carvings, baskets, paintings and other objects numbering over 1,000 items!

                For the Eiteljorg staff, working with Helen Kersting has been a highlight of our careers. For the future of the Eiteljorg Museum, we have gained significant strength in our collection with masterworks from Navajo, Hopi, Zuni, Santa Clara, San Ildefonso, Acoma, Zia, San Juan, and other cultures. Prior to 2008, our collection expressive of these cultural areas was small and undistinguished.  Today, our holdings are admired by colleagues, artists and the general public. When the original Kersting gift was exhibited and published in 2010 the greatest obvious strengths were in pottery and jewelry. In the years since, Helen has focused on adding to these areas while building strength in other areas of the collection. In particular this is true of Katsina carvings and Navajo weavings. New installations in the gallery are now featuring some of the weavings, more baskets, and jewelry.  In coming months you will see additional evidence of how the collection has been enriched.

                We all deeply appreciate what will be the lasting legacy of Helen Cox Kersting’s collection at the Eiteljorg Museum.  When you visit, admire her contributions. Consider writing a letter of thanks to her and send it to my attention at the museum. I know she would appreciate your thoughts.

    [Image captions]

    Weavings being installed in the Southwest gallery, July 2014.

    Eva Salazar (Kumeyaay), snake basket, 1990-2008, gift: Courtesy of Helen Cox Kersting in Memory of Dr. Hans Joachim Kersting, installed in newly created basket exhibit.

    Larry Vasquez (Aztec/Mayan/Mescalero Apache, born 1947), necklace of Lone Mountain fossil turquoise and gold. Gift of Helen Cox Kersting, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Eiteljorg Museum.

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  • Navajo Rugs, Buckaroo Bash and a Halloween Event Just for Adults | October Calendar of Events

    by Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art | Oct 02, 2014

     October gives visitors plenty of chances to learn, play and party at the Eiteljorg!
      

     
    Dawn Dark Mountain (Oneida of Wisconsin), Beneath the Ever Growing Tree 

    Saturday
    Oct. 4
    1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

    Meet Artist-in-Residence Dawn Dark Mountain (Oneida of Wisconsin)
    Dawn specializes in transparent watercolors. In addition to her paintings, she creates linoleum and wood-block prints that are then completed with watercolor. Visitors can learn about Dawn’s culture and watch as she demonstrates her techniques.
     

    Navajo Rug Auction at the Eiteljorg Museum

    Saturday
    Oct 4
    Navajo Rug Auction

    9:30-11:00 a.m.    Preview 
    11:30 a.m.            Auction Begins
    Navajo rugs in traditional and contemporary designs from the R.B. Burnham & Co. Trading Post in Arizona will be auctioned. Prices range from less than $100 to $10,000. 
      
    Presse_When_Thou_Art_Gone
    Quest artist Heide Presse, When Thou Art Gone to Western Land, 2014, Oil on Linen, 26 x 26 inches
    Sunday
    Oct. 5
    Quest for the West® Art Show and Sale closes at 5 p.m.  


    DG House (Cherokee of NE Alabama), Ancestors Yet to Come
     
    Saturdays
    Oct 11, 18 and 25

    1 p.m. – 4 p.m. 

    Meet Artist-in-Residence DG House (Cherokee of NE Alabama)
    Contemporary Native American artist, DG House, will share her art and culture. Guests may also watch her demonstrate her mixed media and painting techniques.
     
    Saturday
    Oct. 18
    10 a.m. – Noon
    Ledger Art Workshop
    Join artist-in-residence, DG House, for this one-of-a-kind workshop and learn about the history of ledger art explained through the story of the Battle of Little Bighorn. With DG’s guidance, participants will create their own personal ledger art to take home. Materials Fee: Non-Members $12. To pre-register by Oct.11, call 317.275.1370.



    Saturday
    Oct. 18
    7 p.m.
    Leather and Lace |The 17th Annual
    Buckaroo Bash
    The Buckaroo Bash is one of the Eiteljorg’s biggest fundraisers. Proceeds from the event purchase art supplies for visiting students and support education programs such as artists in residence, gallery interpreters, and Eiteljorg Museum to the Classrooms: Stories of Diversity. RSVP by Oct. 10. by calling 317.275.1333. Price: $200


    Day of the Dead/ Dia de los Muertos at the Eiteljorg Museum

    Saturday
    Oct. 25

    11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

    Day of the Dead/Dia de los Muertos (photo attached)
    This year NOPAL (an Indianapolis Latino arts and culture organization), is partnering with the Eiteljorg to provide an upbeat experience during the Day of the Dead celebration. The event will include festive and thoughtful ofrendas (altars that honor deceased loved ones); art created by local artists; a mercado; and a Katrina fashion show. Entertainment will be provided by NOPAL Musicians and Anderson Ballet Folklorico. Guests may visit with New Mexican tin artist Richard Gabriel, Jr., and local contemporary papel picado artist Beatriz Schlebecker. Guests will get to create their own papel picado and tin ornament to take home.

    Friday
    Oct. 31
    8 p.m. – Midnight

    Freiteljorg with the ICO and DJ Kyle Long (an adult Halloween party)
    Celebrate the opening of New Art 2.0 by partying until the witching hour in your most haunting attire. Enjoy grown-up trick-or-treating, while grooving to an unforgettable live mash-up of modern DJ experimental sounds featuring DJ Kyle Long and the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra. Costumes mimicking Native Americans or people of other races will not be tolerated. Price: $20 for non Agave members, $30 at the door.
     
     
     Rick Bartow (Wiyot tribe of Northern California), Bird Hat, 2013, monoprint, edition 1/1, 30 1/8 x 22 1/2, Print courtesy: Crow's Shadow Press, Photography by Hadley Fruits. 

    Saturday
    Nov 1

    New Art 2.0 opens
    Dates: Nov. 1 –Jan. 4, 2015

    New Art 2.0 is an exhibition of prints by contemporary Native and Western artists, many of them Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellows. It is a blend of landscape, political and environmental statements as well as portraiture. Eighty limited-edition prints will be on exhibit. Prices range from $500 - $4,000. 

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  • INDIAN ENCAMPMENT at SUNSET a painting by Albert Bierstadt | The Rest of the Story

    by James H. Nottage, Eiteljorg vice president and chief curatorial officer | Sep 29, 2014

      

               Albert Bierstadt, Indian Encampment at Sunset, oil on canvas, ca. 1875, gift courtesy of Harrison Eiteljorg. 

                It is a small painting, just 14 inches by 20 inches wide. It rests in a gilded gold frame, possibly the original from the time of the painting’s creation. In the painting, orange-cast clouds reflect the rapidly receding yellow sunlight on the distant horizon while in the foreground trees and Indian teepees are embraced by growing night-time darkness. By the early 1870s, artist Albert Bierstadt was well-known for the moods conveyed in his Western landscape paintings.  He created grand canvases from his travels to Yosemite and other recognizable areas of the great West, but they were not precise documents. They were inspirational and often took liberties with scenes the artist viewed in person. Trees, rock formations, and bodies of water were subject to his rearrangement for the sake of aesthetics.

                 Certainly it was the beauty of Indian Encampment at Sunset, along with the importance of the artist, that drew Harrison Eiteljorg to collect this work in the late 1970s. The inside story is that the hundred year history of the painting was fairly well documented at that time although there was a critical error in the record. Eiteljorg obtained the painting from a gallery in Maryland. According to the gallery, a woman named Marian Townsley sold the painting in 1976, but had inherited it from her mother, Mrs. M. Howland Townsley in 1925. In turn she acquired it from her mother, Florence Little King Howland in 1910. She acquired it, as the story goes, from her “first husband” after his death in 1901. The man who died in 1901 was actually her son, the famed American explorer and geologist, Clarence King. 

       

                Clarence King was the first director of the U. S. Geological Survey and among his many accomplishments was best known for exploring the Sierra Nevadas. For six years beginning in 1867 he led expeditions to survey the 40th U. S. Parallel. He also exposed a famous hoax that claimed the discovery of diamonds in Colorado, and published notable geology texts. At first, King did not trust the paintings of Albert Bierstadt, because of how the artist depicted geological features.  By 1872, however, the two were exploring the Sierras together and King reported in August that Bierstadt would “give me liberty to copy any or all of his studies” for his report. Bierstadt’s field work that summer also became the basis of a number of important large paintings. 

       

                It is possible that the Bierstadt sunset painting was acquired by Clarence King at this time. That the artist was inspired by scenes viewed alongside King is clear from his paintings. King was equally inspired, writing that “I found it extremest pleasure to lie there alone on the dizzy brink, . . . watching that slow grand growth of afternoon shadows. Sunset found me there, still disinclined to stir, and repaid my laziness by a glorious spectacle of color. At this hour there is no more splendid contrast of light and shade.” (Clarence King, Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada, Boston, 1872).

              Oh, and the deeper part of the story? It seems that the great explorer, Clarence King, led a double life for the last 13 years of his life. He posed as an African American railway porter named James Todd - having a common-law wife with whom he had five children. Read about the fascinating story of King and his family in Martha A. Sandweiss's masterful book, Passing Strange: A Gilded Age Tale of Love and Deception Across the Color Line. New York: Penguin Press, 2009. Oh, and take a look at Indian Encampment at Sunset in the Eiteljorg's Gund Gallery of Western Art.

                  

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