Eiteljorg Musuem Blog
  • Eiteljorg Fellow Wendy Red Star's Exhibit Opens Friday, June 6 at iMOCA

    by Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art | Jun 05, 2014

    Yakima Nation Youth Activities, Wendy Red Star, Archival Inkjet Print, 2014

    The Eiteljorg Museum has the privilege of partnering with Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art (iMOCA) to present the art of Wendy Red Star (Crow) in the exhibit Circling The Camp: Wendy Red Star. Red Star is a 2009 Eiteljorg Fellow and prolific artist. Thank you to Shauta Marsh, director, iMOCA for sharing her thoughts about contemporary art and Red Star's work in this interview with Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Curator Jennifer Complo McNutt. 

    More on Wendy Red Star from iMOCA's newsletter:
    Over the course of her practice, Wendy Red Star has worked within and between the mediums of photography, sculpture, installation, performance and design. Featured in Huffington Post and other publications, the 2009 Eiteljorg Fellow will open her solo exhibition with iMOCA June 6, from 6-11 p.m.  The exhibit will run through July 19th with the hours of Thursday- Saturday, 12 am-7 p.m.  

    Artist talk between Red Star and Eiteljorg Museum's Curator of Contemporary Art, Jennifer McNutt, is June 7 at 1 p.m.

    Red Star's work layers influences drawn from her tribal background (Crow), daily surroundings, collected ephemera and conjured histories that are both real and imagined. Through her photographs and sculpture new universes are built, simultaneously urban-rural and high-low with their own language of symbols created from such seemingly disparate sites as rez cars, powwow culture, indigenous commoditization, and Red Star's personal collection of memories growing up as a half-breed on the Crow Indian reservation.

    Wendy Red Star is an artist living and working in Portland, Oregon. Red Star received her B.F.A. from Montana State University-Bozeman and her M.F.A from UCLA in 2006. She has exhibited both nationally and internationally. Her exhibitions include shows at the Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain, Hallie Ford Museum, The Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship 2009, Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Domaine de Kerguéhennec, Laura Bartlett Gallery London, The Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Missoula Art Museum, St. Louis Art Museum, National Museum of the American Indian-New York, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and the Bockley Gallery.

    Circling The Camp: Wendy Red Star
    The Murphy Art Center, Fountain Square
    1043 Virginia Ave, Suite 5, Indianapolis 46203
    Thursday-Saturday, 1 p.m.-8 p.m.
    iMOCA is closed holidays and between exhibitions.
    Admission and parking are FREE.
    For more information please call 317.63i.MOCA



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  • Modern Spirit | The Art of George Morrison opens this Saturday

    by Jennifer Complo McNutt, Eiteljorg curator of contemporary art | Mar 25, 2014

    George Morrison (Chippewa), Cumulated Landscape, 1976, wood, 48 x 120 x 3 in.

    In 1999, the Eiteljorg gathered artists, the Native American advisory council, board members, and staff to determine the format for the Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship. There was one aspect of the program that elicited no discussion, only agreement. It was unanimous; George Morrison (Chippewa) would usher in the program as the first distinguished artist.

    “An artist who happened to be Indian,” as he liked to say, Morrison worked with the abstract expressionist in the1950’s and is an important modernist and role model for generations of young Native and non-Native artists. The Eiteljorg will exhibit Morrison’s prolific work beginning Mar. 29, 2014, in the Harvey and Hunt galleries.

    To celebrate the work and importance of this artist, the Minnesota Museum of American Art (MMAA) in St. Paul, Minnesota has assembled the first comprehensive retrospective of this key Native American modernist. The exhibition, Modern Spirit: The Art of George Morrison includes drawings, paintings, prints, and sculpture that bring together concepts of abstraction, landscape, and spiritual reflection. A total of 80 works in all, most from MMAA, represent Morrison’s life’s work in breathtaking depth. The exhibition is curated by W. Jackson Rushing III, Adkins Presidential Professor of Art History and Mary Lou Milner Carver Chair in Native American Art at the University of Oklahoma.

    The Red Painting (Franz Kline Painting), ca. 1960, oil on canvas, 47 x 79 in. Loan courtesy of Dorit and Gerald Paul

    This stunning group of artwork holds one piece with special significance to the Eiteljorg. It is owned by our friends and supporters Gerald and Dorit Paul. The Red Painting is an example of Morrison’s facility with the paint and his interest in the landscape, especially of his beloved Red Rocks, his home in Grand Portage, Minnesota. Not only is this painting incredibly significant in modernist terms, it also holds a fascinating story. While in New York City, Morrison became friends with Franz Kline, another important modernist painter. Morrison and Kline agreed to art barter and Morrison gave Kline The Red Painting. However; prior to fulfilling his end of the bargain, Kline died. It took some negotiations to retrieve the painting from Kline’s widow! For collectors, like the Pauls, it is always satisfying to have interesting stories as part of the artwork’s provenance.

    George Morrison died in 1999, months after he was honored by the Eiteljorg. The museum is proud to exhibit his work through Sep. 14, 2014.

    Opening Day Schedule
    Saturday, Mar. 29
    Doors open at 10 a.m.
    Public talk by exhibit curator Jackson Rushing
    1 p.m.
    Join us for an illustrated lecture by Morrison curator Jackson Rushing that documents, celebrates, and investigates the artistic achievement of George Morrison - a distinguished and beloved Chippewa modernist (1919-1999) whose artwork is held in numerous public and private collections.

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  • Eiteljorg Throwback Thursday | THE GREETING Installation in 1989

    by Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art | Feb 12, 2014

    In June 1989, George Carlson's two-ton bronze sculpture, The Greeting, was lowered into place at the museum's main entrance. There are over 90 examples of the artist's work in the museum's collection. Carlson, was one of Harrison Eiteljorg's favorite artists.
    George Carlson, The Greeting, 1989, cast bronze

    George Carlson, American, born 1940
    The Greeting, 1989
    cast bronze, edition 1/3

    About the artist
    Renowned artist George Carlson was born in Illinois in 1940 and studied art in Chicago. He is an Academician of the National Academy of Design and a Fellow of the National Sculpture Society. The subject of this work is a Blackfoot man welcoming visitors; he holds an eagle wing fan up in a gesture of friendship. The work is an allegorical expression of welcoming friendship. Carlson has been the subject of numerous exhibitions and publications, is represented in many public and private collections, and has received many awards at major shows across the country.
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  • It’s always the season to show R-E-S-P-E-C-T

    by Ashley Holland (Cherokee), Eiteljorg assistant curator of contemporary art | Oct 31, 2013

    Happy Halloween! A friendly reminder to always be respectful of other cultures when you are picking a costume…

    Each year, around Halloween, I face the same horror. No, it isn’t goblins or ghosts that frighten me. It is the ever-present “Indian costume.” There are a few reasons I am strongly opposed to the idea of anyone “dressing up” as an “Indian,” including cultural misrepresentation and reducing a diverse people into a single stereotype. I use the quotations with “Indian” because these are false representations.  Even though costume wearers are not portraying a specific person or group, they still do harm. By reducing a group of people to a stereotype, one perpetuates the misunderstandings that surround Native peoples. Native cultures should not be portrayed as a caricature. They are strong and vibrant. Show respect by not dressing up as an “Indian” during Halloween and the rest of the year. And do not be afraid to tell others why those costumes are inappropriate.

    CAPTION: "Indian costumes makes me sad."
    Ashley Holland (Cherokee),assistant curator of contemporary art (in the red sweater)


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  • Meet the Fellows | Meryl McMaster (Part IV of V)

    by Ashley Holland (Cherokee), Eiteljorg assistant curator of Contemporary Art | Oct 30, 2013

    Each week the Eiteljorg blog will profile artists who will be featured in RED: Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship. The exhibit opens Nov. 9. Details below!

    What follows is an excerpt from Meryl McMaster: Immeasurable, the Art of Being, by Ashley Holland 
    (from RED: Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship exhibition catalog).

    Meryl McMaster
    (Plains Cree/Blackfoot)

    Photo credit: Ian Clark

    My artistic practice begins with photography evoking a journey that follows a path of self-discovery….My art unravels notions of identity and subjectivity as something that is never complete, but always in process and always formed from within. -
    Meryl McMaster

    Meryl McMaster’s work creates a paradigm of the artist as visual philosopher. Her pursuit of knowledge, connection to the natural world, and relentless dedication to profound beauty make her photographs sumptuous and complex. They are a world unto themselves. She invites the viewers to join her in this world, to take what they may, and to grow from their own conclusions.

    McMaster was born to a Euro-Canadian mother and Plains Cree/Blackfoot father in 1988. Her father, Gerald McMaster, is a well-known artist, author, and curator of Canadian aboriginal contemporary art. There is little question that this upbringing gave McMaster a great well of cultural and ancestral memory in which to immerse and emerge as herself. It is also of no small consequence that she, as an early career artist, exists in the era of important cultural and social movements such as Idle No More, in which Canada’s aboriginal people strive to reclaim their place and rights in their communities locally, provincially, and nationally. No doubt this influences her political and social views, of which her photographs act as a visual record.

    Meryl McMaster (Plains Cree/Blackfoot)
    Anima (In-Between Worlds series), 2012
    Digital chromogenic print
    Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship Acquisition Fund

    Meryl McMaster (Plains Cree/Blackfoot)
    Wingeds Calling (In-Between Worlds series), 2012
    Digital chromogenic print
    Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship Acquisition Fund

    Meryl McMaster (Plains Cree/Blackfoot)
    Aphoristic Currents (In-Between Worlds series), 2013
    Digital chromogenic print
    Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship Acquisition Fund

    McMaster conceptualizes her work and then proceeds to use the moment, the environment, and the circumstance of that particular sequence to document the culmination of her vision. She has a space in her home where elements and concepts are envisioned and created as the stepping-stones to the act of photographing. For McMaster, the camera becomes an object that is vulnerable and dependent on the environment around it.

    McMaster’s photographs continue to grow stronger as she adds layer upon layer of experience toward the spiritual maturity she seeks. Her constant exploration of identity and search for (self) realization translate beautifully into lush images with each subject she captures. Her photography series  In-Between Worlds , Ancestral , and Second Self demonstrate the potency of her artistic message. It is not surprising that one so interested in pursuit of the elevation of the human spirit and self-consciousness about her bi-cultural heritage would choose to work in the form of a photographic series, as if to better investigate a world, a view, through a multi-dimensional lens and a plethora of sculptural, cultural, and natural materials. 

    Meet Meryl McMaster, Friday, Nov. 8 at the Eiteljorg.

    Schedule for opening weekend of RED:Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship
    NOV 8
    5:30–7:30 p.m.
    $40 – includes Saturday’s activities
    To commemorate the opening of RED: the Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship, the museum will honor the five Native Fellowship winners with an intimate gathering that celebrates their artistic accomplishments.

    7:30 p.m.–12 a.m.
    Contemporary Arts Party
    $15 at the door, $10 in advance – includes Saturday’s activities
    Celebrate the opening of RED by partying all night to the sounds of A Tribe Called Red and DJ Kyle Long of the Cultural Cannibals. Additional entertainment will be provided by the comedy improve group the 1491s, Big Car, Know No Stranger, and more!
    Tickets are available for purchase at


    NOV 9
    All Day
    RED: Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship
    Be among the first to experience RED.
    Opening Day a
    ctivities include a gallery tour with the Fellows from 10 a.m.-12 p.m and from 1–3 p.m. a presentation by comedic cultural critics, the 1491s. Saturday's event is in collaboration with the 2013 Spirit & Place Festival. This festival reaches 20,000 people each year through dozens of “never before seen” programs that promote growth of the human spirit.

    Meryl is one of five 2013 Fellows and her artwork will be featured in the exhibition RED: The Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship, opening Nov. 9. This biennial program recognizes the accomplishments of one invited and four juried Fellows, which are chosen by a panel of independent experts. As part of the Fellowship, each artist receives a $25,000 unrestricted cash award and their work is exhibited and further explored in an accompanying catalog. In addition, the museum purchases a total of over $100,000 worth of art from the Fellows for the permanent collection, adding to a body of work that has given the Eiteljorg Museum a collection of Native contemporary art that has been referred to as the “greatest in the world.”

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