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Contemporary art in the spotlight in months ahead

by Bryan Corbin, editor, Storyteller Magazine | Sep 12, 2017
In_Their_Honor_042

Fall is an exciting time for Native American contem­porary art at the Eiteljorg. Two ongoing exhibitions, In Their Honor and The Geometry of Expression, examine the work of several Native contemporary artists. These are prelude to one of the most important contemporary art shows the Eiteljorg has ever staged: Native Art Now!, opening Veterans Day weekend.

The current and upcoming exhibitions exemplify the broad continuum of Native expression, often with con­ceptual pieces, upending the notion that Native art is narrow in its mediums and styles.

In_Their_Honor_043“We in Indianapolis can be proud of the fact that the Eiteljorg has one of the nation’s best collections of contemporary Native art, and visitors over coming months can experience many intriguing examples of works by today’s artists,” Eiteljorg President and CEO John Vanausdall said.

Located in the Hurt and Harvey galleries, In Their Honor pays homage to five influential Native contemporary artists, now deceased, who were past fellows in the Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship.

Visitors will be engaged by the expressive sculptures by Allan Houser, poignant paint­ings and prints from George Morrison and Harry Fonseca, animal-human transformational figures by John Hoover and compelling paintings and sculptures by Rick Bartow. All five artists were groundbreakers whose works were exhibited in numerous museums and universities and who opened doors to the art world for a new generation of contemporary Native artists.

Produced by Jennifer Complo McNutt, Eiteljorg curator of contemporary art, In Their Honor will be on exhibit through April 1, 2018.

Kay WalkingStick -- Wallawa Memory

Nearby in the museum’s Myrta Pulliam Gallery of Photography, prints by three living Eiteljorg Fellows — Kay WalkingStick, Anna Tsouhlarakis and Wendy Red Star — use geometry in thought-provoking ways and undoubtedly will foster discussion. The exhibit, The Geometry of Expression, was produced by Dorene Red Cloud, assistant curator of Native American art, and will be up through Jan. 7, 2018.

Both exhibits build anticipation for the Nov. 11 public opening of Native Art Now!, a retro­spective of some of the archetypal work of Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship artists over the past 20 years. The 39 works, some of them newly purchased and not shown before, will include paintings, photography, sculpture and three large installations in the special exhibit gallery.

Native Art Now! will be accompanied Nov. 11-12 by a convening of scholars, curators and many of the living Eiteljorg Fellows who will participate in a discussion about challenges facing contemporary Native artists today, as well as a preview of an upcoming TV documentary about the artists.

Once it closes Jan. 28, Native Art Now! will go on tour as a traveling exhibition to other cities to present the work of these artists to broader audiences. In conjunction with Native Art Now!, the Eiteljorg is publishing a major survey book that reviews several decades of contemporary Native art and is authored by many of the most prominent authors in the field.


CONTEMPORARY NATIVE ART ON EXHIBIT AT THE EITELJORG

In Their Honor, an ongoing exhibit of the work of Rick Bartow (Wiyot), Harry Fonseca (Nisenan Maidu/Hawaiian/Portuguese), John Hoover (Aleut), Allan Houser (Warm Springs Chiricahua Apache) and George Morrison (Ojibwe), in the Hurt and Harvey galleries, through April 1.

The Geometry of Expression, an ongoing exhibit featuring the work of Kay WalkingStick (Cherokee), Wendy Red Star (Crow), and Anna Tsouhlarakis (Navajo/Creek/Greek), in the Myrta Pulliam Gallery of Photography through Jan. 7.

Native Art Now!, a traveling exhibit of iconic contemporary Native art from the permanent collection of the Eiteljorg Museum, in the special exhibit gallery Nov. 11-Jan 28.


Image Captions:

Top two images: 
Works by five artists who participated in the Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship are now part of the In Their Honor exhibition in the Hurt and Harvey galleries.

Lower image:
Kay WalkingStick (Cherokee)
Wallowa Memory, 2003
lithograph
Gift: Courtesy of the artist

 

This article originally appeared in the September 2017 issue of Storyteller magazine. 

 

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