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Eiteljorg Insider | 5 Questions with Contemporary Curator Jennifer Complo McNutt

by Jaq Nigg, Eiteljorg festivals and markets manager | Oct 14, 2013

We caught up with the Eiteljorg’s curator of contemporary art after a hectic week of working with photographers for images for the upcoming Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship publication. Jennifer believes the Eiteljorg has the greatest collection of Native American fine art in the world. She should know. She’s been with the museum since 1991 – just two years after we opened – and has been instrumental in building the collection.

Contemporary curator Jennifer Complo McNutt

Favorite piece of art in the Eiteljorg collection: One favorite is Dry Ditch by Kenneth Miller Adams. Jennifer is a painter at heart. Kenneth Miller Adams, The Dry Ditch, 1964The strong slightly exaggerated triangular composition is a sight for sore eyes; the dry methodic application of paint mirrors the oppressive unrelenting heat; the figures expressions and gestures pulling them down; and the wiggling upturned posture of the child is hope, perseverance, why we don't give up, what we give for the future.

 1. What inspires you?
A world without blogs. Living with dogs. Helping ideas become real. Making art accessible to everyone, no matter how complicated it is.

 2. If you could steal any piece of art in the world to have in your home, what would it be?
If I am going to steal anything it wouldn’t be art. . .steal a glance, steal a moment, steal away. . .

 3. If you weren’t a museum curator, what would you do?
Whatever I had to. . .

 4. Do you collect anything?
Yes. Denzel Washington. My collection is currently incomplete.

 5. If you could spend the afternoon with anyone – living or dead – who would it be?
I try not to spend time with dead people. If I choose a dead person to hang out with it would be my father. A living person: Bill Clinton, hands down. What do they both have in common? They were/are smart and funny. Forget smart without funny . . . that’s not smart.

Pictured above:
Kenneth Adams (American, 1897-1966)
The Dry Ditch, 1964
Oil on canvas
Gift Courtesy of Harrison Eiteljorg

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