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  • Exhibit showcasing Harry Fonseca’s extraordinary body of work opens May 19

    by Jennifer Complo McNutt, curator of contemporary art | Feb 12, 2018

    Harry Fonseca_St. Francis of AssisiIn 2005 the Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship awarded one of five Eiteljorg Fellowships to Harry Fonseca (Maidu/Nisenan/
    Portuguese/Hawaiian). A short 13 months later, Fonseca passed. His death was mourned by the contemporary arts community as well as friends and colleagues. There was a rain of tears as we said goodbye to the creator of Coyote and Rose, Gold and Souls in California, Stone Poems, the St. Francis series and the Splatter and Stripes series, and recalled his charming coyote smile and silvery hair. Fonseca had left his corporeal form; and what remains is his legacy of whimsy and tricksters, ancient images, the revenges of greed and religious megalomania and a love of paint and painting.

    In 2014 the Eiteljorg was approached by Fonseca’s partner Harry Nungesser, fondly referred to as “Tucson Harry.” Fonseca’s home was in Santa Fe; Nungesser’s in Tucson. Over the years Nungesser had purchased many works of art from Fonseca, had received many gifts from him such as paintings, drawings, and prints, and had also documented Fonseca’s accomplishments. Nungesser had accumulated photos and personal correspondence that include drawings and paintings, invitations, articles and books — all told, about 80 works of art and six file boxes of archival information. Nungesser wanted to make a gift of his collection to the Eiteljorg.

    It is a welcomed and treasured gift. In February 2014, as we curators arrived at Nungesser’s to pack the collection for transport to the Eiteljorg, I was surprised to see this important collection was housed in a mobile home. This was no ordinary mobile home; it was known locally as the Trailer Trash Gallery, Sometimes Hotel and Sometimes Restaurant, a scene of many exquisite dinners and celebrations. Nungesser had inherited the trailer; and it was a perfect location to maintain the collection of Fonseca’s work in a hot dry climate, with minimal light and climate control.

    The Eiteljorg will celebrate this collection with an exhibition dedicated to Harry Fonseca’s work and life. Included will be paintings, prints, drawings and archival materials that provide an intimate look at this artist. The audience will be introduced to Fonseca’s work, love of music, food, family, and friends. There will be audible interpretation provided by Nungesser to listen to, scrapbooks to flip through, a catalog and a beautiful journey through the chronology of his work. It is a story of love and art not to be missed.

    Harry Fonseca

















    The exhibit
    Harry Fonseca: The Art of Living will open May 19 and continue for one year in the Eiteljorg’s Hurt and Harvey galleries. A catalog of the Fonseca exhibit will be available in the Frank and Katrina Basile Museum Store. For information about reservations to a special opening reception at 6 p.m. Friday, May 18, please contact Mary Whistler at 317.275.1316 or mwhistler@eiteljorg.com

     

    Image Caption:
    Harry Fonseca (Maidu/Nisenan/Portuguese/Hawaiian, 1946-2006)
    St. Francis of Assisi, 1999 Mixed media on canvas
    65 x 35”
    Museum purchase with funds from Harry S. Nungesser in loving memory of his partner Harry Fonseca



    This essay originally appeared in the February 2018 issue of Storyteller magazine. 

     

     





  • Kick up your boots at Cowpokes & Cocktails benefit, Saturday, April 28

    by | | Feb 12, 2018

    C&CIn 2017, we reimagined the annual Eiteljorg fund-raiser benefitting the museum’s ever-important and impactful education and public programs departments. Cowpokes & Cocktails was born and what a resounding success it was with increased attendance and contributions. This year’s iteration will once again be an exciting, high-end fundraiser and guaranteed night of fun.

    Cowpokes & Cocktails will include delicious food, music, a live and silent auction including works of art, destination packages and much more. The emcee for the evening will be Kristi Lee from Q95 and The Bob & Tom Show. New this year will be easier registration and check-out — and best of all, no long lines after a night of fun.

    At our core is the belief that all children should experience art, regardless of socioeconomic status.

    Cowpokes & Cocktails takes place the evening of Saturday, April 28 at the Fitness Farm, 2525 West 44th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46228.

    Sponsorships are still available. Entertain clients and reward employees all while supporting arts education. Sponsorships range from $5,000 to $20,000. Individual tickets are $200 per person or $1,800 per table of 10. Registration is required. Contact Mary Whistler for more information 317.275.1316 or mwhistler@eiteljorg.com.

     

     

    This article originally appeared in the February 2018 issue of Storyteller magazine. 

     





  • Meet our new director of collections, Allison H. Evans

    by Brittan Semler, marketing & communications intern | Feb 12, 2018

    For Allison H. Evans, the transition into her new position as the Eiteljorg’s director of museum collections has been a fairly easy one, comforted by her own knowledge and experiences, the adventure of having a new city to discover and the welcoming people. “The best part of the position so far has been how welcoming everyone is,” she said. “I love the city. I loved Texas, too, but Indy has been really fun to explore.”

    AllisonEvans
    Allison H. Evans

    Allison recently moved to Indianapolis from Orange, Texas, where she worked for the Stark Museum of Art. Although she relocated more than 1,000 miles from her previous position, the work is familiar. She credits the smooth transition to her prior experience with Western and Native American art and artists. “I was working for the Stark Museum of Art, which is also Western American and Native American, and so I’m familiar with some of the artists here, which is great. I think that helps make the transition easier, too, because I’m not dealing with a whole new group of artists and collections, which is nice.”

    As director of museum collections, her responsibilities include overseeing the care and conservation of art works and objects in the museum’s collections. That involves chairing various councils, committees and a task force, planning for disasters and revamping the Eiteljorg’s collections management policy and procedures. Those are policies about how we care for our collections, why it’s important, and how we acquire objects into the collection. She also has the opportunity to travel occasionally, accompanying artwork as it’s transferred to different museums. Just weeks after she was hired, she traveled to San Diego to pack a collection donated to the museum.  

    “There’s so much of this job I enjoy. I’ve been doing it so long,” she said of her 17 years in the collections field. She’s especially looking forward to working with the Eiteljorg’s database and possibly giving the public more access to information on the museum’s collections.

    Her decision to apply to join the Eiteljorg was an easy one. “I knew its reputation was really good and they were doing exciting, innovative things like working with Native American artists and tribes and that’s just really exciting to me, to really work with those different cultures.”

    Originally from Pennsylvania, Allison has lived in Delaware, Texas and now Indiana. “I don’t know where the next thing will take me,” she said, “but right now I am loving my job and loving Indy, so I’m looking forward to exploring more.”

    Allison succeeds Amy McKune, the previous director of collections who is a dedicated professional and had been with the museum 13 years. Allison’s first day at the Eiteljorg was Jan. 8. In her short time on staff, she’s already figured out what makes the Eiteljorg unique. “I think the thing that sticks out to me is how dedicated the staff is to this organization, and they really seem like they’re all having a good time, which is really special. You don’t get that everywhere.”





  • The Reel West looks at how Westerns shape identity

    by Eiteljorg staff | Nov 21, 2017

    sign


    On March 3, 2018, the Eiteljorg opens an exciting new special exhibition: The Reel West. This collection of objects, images and hands-on interactives explores how Western movies and TV shows shape perceptions of the American West.

    Whether you’re a fan of classic Hollywood Westerns such as The Searchers and Bonanza, or contemporary takes on the genre like Django Unchained and the reboot of Westworld, there’s something for everyone. The Reel West examines how Westerns tell morality tales, represent diversity and build myths that shape American identity.

    Fun and interesting for all ages, the yearlong exhibition includes film screenings, curator talks and more. Interested in sponsoring a movie-style theater seat or a hat worn by your favorite Hollywood hero or villain? Contact 317.275.1311 or nlowder@eiteljorg.com for sponsorship opportunities.





  • Grafton Tyler Brown: An important new acquisition

    by James H. Nottage, Vice President and Chief Curatorial Officer, Gund Curator of Western art, history and culture | Oct 24, 2017

    Grafton_Tyler_Brown_Castle_Geyser_YellowstoneVisitors to the Eiteljorg starting in November 2018 will experience beautifully reimagined Western art galleries. The best of our collections will be featured; and new experiences through technology will help convey the history and meaning of the art. The best of works from the Harrison Eiteljorg, George Gund, and K. S. “Bud” Adams collections will be shown in the best light, and will be joined by works acquired to fill gaps in the overall collection.

    The good news is that one of the newly acquired paintings is on exhibit right now, and it will be part of the galleries and our efforts to demonstrate the broader diversity of Western art by artists from many national and cultural backgrounds. Now featured in the Gund Gallery of Western Art is a notable painting by Grafton Tyler Brown.

    Born in Pennsylvania in 1841, Brown moved to San Francisco and worked as a lithographer and commercial artist. Brown was one of a small number of recognized African American painters to work in the West in the 1800s. He became known for creating and publishing cityscapes, business documents and maps. Later he was known for his paintings of the Western landscape, settling for a time in Oregon, British Columbia and Montana. His last years were spent as a draftsman and map maker in St. Paul, Minnesota.

    GraftonTylerBrown_artist_imageGrafton Tyler Brown’s depictions of Yosemite, Yellow-stone and the mountains of the Pacific Northwest are represented in a select few museum collections. Castle Geyser, Yellowstone, was sketched on-site by Brown on Sep. 6, 1890, and the canvas was completed in 1891 at his Helena, Montana, studio. The work reminds us that people with diverse roots have been a part of the Western experience, and that the traces of their lives are something we can all see and appreciate. The work also helps to expand the museum’s holdings of landscape views of the American West.





    Image Captions:

    Grafton Tyler Brown (1841-1918)
    Castle Geyser, Yellowstone, 1891, oil on canvas
    Museum purchase through the generosity of Harrison Eiteljorg

    Grafton Tyler Brown at work in Victoria, British Columbia, in 1883.
    Courtesy of Royal BC Museum, BC Archives, Victoria.

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

     

     

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