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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. 

     





  • Gund Lecture examines early 19th century depictions of Native Americans in art

    by Eiteljorg Staff | Aug 30, 2017

    'Snake Indians', 1840, by Alfred Jacob Miller
    Mary Peterson Zundo is a Ph.D. candidate in American Art History and Visual Culture at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. On Oct. 14, she will present the Eiteljorg’s annual Gund Lecture in Western art in an exciting program titled Fantasia on the Prairie: Plains Warriors, Arabic Equestrians, and Art on the American Frontier, 1800-1850.

    Fantasia on the Prairie will examine depictions of Native American equestrianism within the sociopolitical and multicul­tural contexts of colonial encounter in the American West, and American artistic exchange in post-Napoleonic France. Including art from the Eiteljorg collection, the lecture will explore the artistic, cultural and political contexts that informed paintings of the American West in the first half of the 19th century and their lasting impact on the ways in which artists depicted Native peoples.

    A focal point for the lecture will be Snake Indians, an 1840 oil painting by American artist Alfred Jacob Miller (1810-1874), displayed in the Eiteljorg’s Gund Gallery of Western Art. “Snake Indians,” referenced in Miller’s title, was a term used by white travelers to describe members of the Shoshone, Bannock and Northern Paiute tribes of the Great Basin. This program has been made possible through a matching grant from Indiana Humanities in cooperation with the National Endowment for the Humanities.

     

    Gund Lecture Series Speaker:
    Mary Peterson Zundo
    Fantasia on the Prairie: Plains Warriors, Arabic Equestrians, and Art on the American Frontier, 1800-1850
    Saturday, Oct. 14 1–2:30 p.m., Clowes Court
    Lecture is included with museum admission and is free for museum members
    Sponsored by: 

     

    Image caption: 

    Alfred Jacob Miller (1810-1844), 
    Snake Indians, 1840,
    oil on canvas.
    The Gund Collection of Western Art Gift of the George Gund Family

     

     







  • Artists in Residence bring arts to the community

    by Emily Sabens | Aug 29, 2017

    Each fall, a select group of artists from across the country descend upon the museum to provide exciting experiences for the local community. The Eiteljorg is excited to have four amazing artists in the lineup this fall. Artists in Residence work at the museum for three weeks at a time, meeting school groups, teaching workshops, doing demonstrations and sharing their art and culture. Each artist will also spend time doing outreach programs at area schools, libraries, community centers and universities.

    Tim Blueflint Ramel - credit Hadley Fruits PhotographySelf-taught musician and artist Tim Blueflint Ramel (Bad River Chippewa/Comanche) draws his creative and musical influences from the memories and stories told to him by his family, as well as others who have graced his life. Internationally recognized for his hand­crafted fine art, flutes and jewelry, Ramel has traveled to venues across Indian Country to share his improvisational traditional music, art and memories. Meet Ramel and learn about his work during open studio sessions on Sept. 9, 16 and 23, and hear a performance of his flute music on Sept. 17.

    DG HouseDG House (Cherokee of Northeastern Alabama) developed a passion for the environment and wildlife as a child, when she spent large amounts of time camping with her family in her native state of Ohio. Fulfilling a lifelong goal, House traveled to Yellowstone National Park in the summer of 1981; it was there that her love of people, landscapes and the wildness converged with her Native heritage. During House’s 20-year career, her art has been featured in museum permanent collections across the country. Meet House, learn about her painting techniques and watch as she works during open studio sessions on Oct. 7 and 21.

    Richard GabrielArtist Richard Gabriel Jr. of Tijeras, New Mexico, is a gifted artist who focuses primarily on creating traditional Spanish Colonial tinwork. He also is a painter and often incorporates his paintings into his tinwork. Serving as an educator as well, Gabriel teaches tinsmithing at the Santa Fe Community College and operates his own studio in Tijeras. Meet Gabriel and try your hand at tinwork during the museum’s annual Day of the Dead Celebration on Oct. 28.

    Karen Ann HoffmanKaren Ann Hoffman (Oneida) is an award-winning artist who creates decorative pieces following the traditions of Iroquois raised beadwork. Hoffman’s beadwork has been displayed across the country and is in the permanent collections of numerous institutions. Meet Hoffman and learn about her art and culture during open studio sessions on Nov. 11, 18 and 25.

     





    Image Credits:  
    Tim Blueflint Ramel image is courtesy of Hadley Fruits Photography.  Images of the other artists are by Eiteljorg Museum staff. 





  • Savor a delicious southwestern lunch at the Museum Café

    by Eiteljorg Staff | Aug 29, 2017
    Museum Cafe - Valley Verde Salad

    Complete your visit to the Eiteljorg by enjoying a delicious and convenient lunch at the Museum Café. With a beautiful view overlooking the Central Canal, the café offers a wide selection of southwestern cuisine. Pair a savory sandwich with one of the café’s freshly made soups or specialty salads. Or, try the café’s Mexican options, including quesadillas, tacos, nachos and tostadas. And if you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, grab a delectable cookie or a Ghirardelli brownie. The café serves a full menu Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., on Saturdays from 11 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. and on Sundays from noon until 2:30 p.m. See the fall menu at www.eiteljorg.org/visit/dine.

     

    Image Caption: 
    Valley Verde salad at the Museum Café.  Photo by Emily Sabens.

     






  • Sublime landscapes showcased in Light, Space, and Power: The Art of P.A. Nisbet

    by Johanna M. Blume, associate curator of Western art, history and culture | Aug 25, 2017
    Nisbet_Beneath_the_Blue_Moon_Bench

    For more than 40 years, Peter A. Nisbet has been a student of fine art, and in the last two decades has received national recognition as a master of the American landscape. In honor of his selection as the 2016 Quest for the West® Artist of Distinction, the Eiteljorg is excited to present an exhibition of his works: Light, Space, and Power: The Art of P.A. Nisbet, which is open to the public from Sept. 10 to Nov. 19. Nisbet’s paintings communicate the extraordinary and often extreme beauty of the American West. He travels extensively, working on location in places such as the Grand Canyon, the deserts of the United States and Mexico, the Gulf of California and Antarctica. Each trip is an adventure, full of experiences he captures in paint.

    Nisbet’s mother introduced him to art as a child, and he has spent his life honing his skills. A graduate of the University of North Carolina, he is a former U.S. Navy officer with service in Vietnam. After leaving the Navy, he spent several years as a successful commercial illustrator and graphic designer in the East. In 1980 Nisbet realized he was ready for a change, so he moved from West Virginia to Arizona.

    “One afternoon, it was one of those blue days where the sky is clear and the jets are leaving long contrails; and this jet was heading west,” he recalled. “The sun was low and it was picking up the contrail overhead. I had this vision, this flash . . . . It was the West. It just flooded in, like God. I just (thought), ‘I’ve got to go.’ It was like a wakeup call:  ‘Wake up, sell your house, leave, go. It’s waiting; your future’s waiting.’”

    Nisbet’s paintings blend technical mastery with emotional depth. Each finished work contains a piece of the truth of Peter’s experiences as an artist and explorer. He releases them to the world where he hopes viewers see, understand and connect that truth to their own lives. There also is a spiritual dimension to his paintings. While rooted in the realist tradition of 19th century artists such as Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran, and European masters such J.M.W. Turner and Rembrandt van Rjin, Nisbet doesn’t set out to recreate Western landscapes exactly as they exist. He seeks to convey their inherent drama and beauty, to elevate the raw power of the natural world and capture something of the sublime.

    “For me the Western landscape best speaks in a language of the possible; the language of the horizon,” Nisbet wrote. “Art that embraces the drama of a journey bears witness to a larger narrative that is distinctly American. I travelled to the deserts because that is where I heard the voice most clearly. It is a voice I also recognize in paintings from the 18th and 19th centuries. Those works celebrate the universals: beauty, space and light. These things are apparent in Western locales such as the Sonoran Desert and the Grand Canyon. Every painting I ever did was the natural outcome of a quest both within myself and without. Every one of them springs from a pearl of direct experience. After almost 50 years of journeys, that string of pearls now resembles a necklace, and by definition, a life fully lived.”

    Peter Nisbet’s extraordinary career and thoughtful perspective truly make him an artist of distinction.

    Nisbet 2017

    LIGHT, SPACE, AND POWER: THE ART OF P.A. NISBET
    Special exhibit of the Quest for the West® Artist of Distinction
    SEP 10–NOV 19
    Gerald and Dorit Paul Gallery

     

     

    TOP IMAGE CAPTION:

    P.A. Nisbet
    Beneath the Blue Moon Bench, 2012
    Oil on linen, 30 x 42 inches
    2012 Quest for the West Harrison Eiteljorg Purchase Award

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

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