Eiteljorg Musuem Blog
  • Gold! Riches and Ruin |Natives and Outsiders

    by Johanna Blume, Eiteljorg assistant curator | Mar 26, 2015

    For years George Carmack, the son of a California forty-niner, took credit as the first to discover gold in the Klondike in 1896. However, two First Nations men who were related to him by marriage may have been the first. Historians now acknowledge that Skookum Jim Mason, the brother of Carmack’s wife, Kate, and Tagish (or Dawson) Charley likely made the find. Regardless, as the word spread it triggered a massive stampede to the Far North.

    The Canadian government foresaw the need to establish a law enforcement presence along the border between the United States and Canada, and in the communities growing and developing in response to the gold rush. The rapid increase in population led to the Yukon Territory’s establishment as a province. Many American gold seekers didn’t realize at first that the discovery existed in another country, and they chafed under Canadian authority.

    A vibrant and diverse indigenous population had long occupied the region. Because of their familiarity with the landscape, many First Nations people were hired as packers and guides on the trails to Dawson, and some worked mining claims. Although many of the outsiders adopted aspects of Native culture, such as wearing parkas and mukluks, overall the Yukon-Klondike gold rush led to the systematic degradation of the Native cultures in the region. 

     NWMP Constables Leason

    Klondikers and Indian Packers                      

    NWMP Constables Leason, Cutting, Brown, Harrington, Ward, Livingstone, Campbell and Ball posing on White Pass Summit beside Union Jack and US Flag with Unidentified Civilian at Extreme Right, 1899
    Image courtesy of Royal Canadian Mounted Police Historical Collections Unit; 1933.8.1

    Klondikers and Indian Packers near Stone House, Chilkoot Trail, Alaska, 1897
    Photographer: Frank LaRoche
    Image courtesy of University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections; LaRoche 10042

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  • New Art 2.0 | Dyani White Hawk

    by Jennifer Complo McNutt, curator of contemporary art and Ashley Holland, assistant curator of contemporary art | Feb 02, 2015

    New Art 2.0 is an exhibition of prints, many created by Eiteljorg Fellows and contemporary Native and non Native artists. It is a blend of “op art,” landscape, political and environmental statements as well as portraiture. Approximately 90 limited edition prints will be on exhibit and available for sale with prices ranging between about $500 - $4000.  New Art 2.0 closes this Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015.

    Litho Moc
    Litho Moc, 2014
    Lithograph, edition 5/9
    28 x 22 ½ inches
    Dyani White Hawk Understanding II_full image
    Understanding II, 2013
    Lithograph, edition 6/15
    22 ¾ x 17 ¼ inches

    As a woman of Lakota and European ancestry, my life experiences have been a continual negotiation of both Western and Indigenous educations, value systems, and worldviews. Through the amalgamation of symbols and motifs derivative of both Lakota and Western abstraction, my artwork examines, dissects, and patches back together pieces of each in a means to provide an honest representation of self and culture.

    Dyani White Hawk (Sicangu Lakota, born 1976) was born in Madison, Wisconsin, and resides in St. Paul, Minnesota. She received a bachelor of fine arts degree from the Institute of American Indian Arts and a master of fine arts degree in painting from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. White Hawk’s work often combines Lakota quillwork design with strong lines that echo blanket and moccasin patterns. Her care in using her abstractions to bring American Indian tradition into a dynamic contemporary context reveals a powerful intellect and remarkable originality.

    new art sponsors

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  • New Art 2.0 | Marie Watt

    by by Jennifer Complo McNutt, curator of contemporary art and Ashley Holland, assistant curator of contemporary art | Feb 02, 2015

    New Art 2.0 is an exhibition of prints, many created by Eiteljorg Fellows and contemporary Native and non Native artists. It is a blend of “op art,” landscape, political and environmental statements as well as portraiture. Approximately 90 limited edition prints will be on exhibit and available for sale with prices ranging between about $500 - $4000.  New Art 2.0 closes this Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015.

    Marie Watt, Camp
    Camp, 2011
    Woodcut, edition 15/20
    20 ¾ x 16 inches

    Born to a Wyoming rancher and Seneca mother, Marie Watt (Seneca)has described herself as half cowboy, half Indian. Deeply studied in art, Watt says she "consciously draw[s] from indigenous design principles, oral traditions, and personal experience to shape the inner logic of the work I make." Much of her work, including that created at Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts, captures the texture and stories inherent in everyday objects. Watt was awarded an Eiteljorg Fellowship for Native American Fine Art in 2005. 
    Lodge, Marie Watt
    Lodge, 2005
    Woodcut, edition 20/20
    16 ½ x 14 inches 
    Plow, Marie Watt
    Plow, 2011
    Woodcut, edition 15/20
    20 ¾ x 16 inches
    Tether, Marie Watt
    Tether, 2011
    Woodcut, edition 15/20
    20 ¾ x 16 inches

    New art sponsors

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  • Eiteljorg Hires New Curator of Native American Art, History and Culture

    by Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art | Jan 26, 2015

    Scott Shoemaker
    Scott Shoemaker standing in front of images and information
    about some of his ancestors profiled in the Eiteljorg Museum.

    The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art announced today that Scott
    Shoemaker, Ph.D., has joined the staff as Thomas G. and Susan C. Hoback Curator of Native American Art, History and Culture. In his position, Shoemaker will develop the Eiteljorg’s collections, relationships with collectors and donors, and will lead development of exhibitions and publications related to the indigenous peoples of North America. He will also work closely with the Eiteljorg’s Native American Advisory Council and institutional partners, including the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. According to James Nottage, vice president and chief curatorial officer, Shoemaker will “do much to shape the second 25 years of the museum’s history.”

    Scott Shoemaker and James Nottage
    Scott Shoemaker and James Nottage discuss Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian objects on exhibit in the museum.

    Shoemaker earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at Ball State, a Master of Arts in landscape architecture at the University of Minnesota, and a doctorate in American studies, also from Minnesota. His focus has been on American Indian studies and museum studies. He has taught at the University of Minnesota, Macalester College in St. Paul, and has served on the curatorial staff in ethnology at the Science Museum of Minnesota.

    A member of the Miami Nation of Indiana, Shoemaker is a leading figure in the study and recovery of the Miami language and preservation of the traditional art of Miami ribbon work. He lectures frequently at scholarly meetings and cultural gatherings and serves on boardsfor the Myaamia Foundation, Miami Nation of Indians of Indiana, and as director for the Historic and Cultural Preservation Office of the Miami Nation of Indiana. With this expertise, Shoemaker will lead the Eiteljorg in becoming a center for the understanding of Native peoples of the larger Indiana and Great Lakes regions. 

    “Scott is a brilliant scholar,” says John Vanausdall, Eiteljorg president and CEO. “The fact that he is a Miami Indian whose culture and family occupied this region before the rest of us is especially gratifying.  Further, Scott has been an invaluable cultural advisor to the museum for nearly two decades.  We could not have designed a better match.”

    Shoemaker has worked with the museum in the past as a member of the Native American Advisory Council and as a consultant in the production of Mihtohseenionki (The People’s Place), the gallery that focuses on the Miami and other tribes important to the history of the Indiana region.

    “Working for the Eiteljorg is a homecoming in many ways,” says Shoemaker. “Early on, I - and the Miami people - were made to feel at home here, getting to know the staff and witnessing programs and exhibits over the years. I like being a part of it.

    “My goal is to contribute to the wonderful success of the museum, to build upon a solid foundation and expand into areas that we haven’t been able to address. I look forward to focusing on local and regional history and cultures and being able to connect with the broader stories of Native America.”

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    by DeShong Perry-Smitherman, Eiteljorg public relations manager | Jan 11, 2015

    Guests waited in long lines in 2014 to see the Eiteljorg's Ansel Adams exhibit.

     More than 161,000 visitors packed the museum in 2014, during the downtown Indianapolis cultural institution’s 25th anniversary year.

    Indianapolis, Ind. – More visitors experienced the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in 2014 than in any year in the institution’s 25-year history. Ansel Adams, the museum’s 2014 epic exhibition, attracted nearly 88,000 visitors over five months, making it the Eiteljorg’s best-attended show ever. Buoyed by this blockbuster and Jingle Rails: The Great Western Adventure, the Eiteljorg posted total attendance for the year of 161,000. The last time the museum posted an annual attendance record was in 2011 when more than 141,000 guests filled its halls, galleries and festivals.

     This attendance record illustrates the continued success of the Eiteljorg’s Project New Moon. The fundraising campaign, launched in 2010, sought to invigorate the museum with dynamic new interpretations of its mission.

    “Five years ago, our baseline attendance goal was 100,000,” said John Vanausdall, president and CEO. “But each year, thanks to shows like Pistols, Red/Black, Steel Ponies and Guitars, we’ve exceeded that goal.”

    Asked the next step in the Eiteljorg Museum’s advancement Vanausdall, assured: “In addition to exposing guests to the unexpected West, our institution is also charting new territory with Gold! Riches and Ruin – our next big exhibit..

    “The search for gold is one of the most compelling stories of the American West and when we open Gold! in March, visitors will get to see it, learn stories about those who struck it rich or died trying and, and children and families will even have the opportunity to experience enriching Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) activities – all related to the exhibit.”

    Other new endeavors at the Eiteljorg include the institution’s first-ever celebration of Juneteenth; the building of a stunning new shade structure that will transform the museum’s gardens along the Downtown Canal; and a welcome new addition to the museum's curatorial team: Scott Shoemaker (Miami Nation of Indiana).

    The Eiteljorg Museum’s 2015 calendar includes the following major exhibits and events:

    MAR 7 – AUG 9
    Greed! Success! Adventure! Failure! Innovation! The promise of gold in the West lured men and women from around the world who yearned for wealth. But all that glitters isn’t, well… Experience the story of how gold has helped forge the American national identity through artifacts, art, stories and interactive experiences. Visitors will find a wide array of objects and images including mining equipment and tools, paintings, journals and diaries, clothing and personal effects, and of course, gold itself, in its myriad forms, including nuggets, coins, bars, and jewelry.

    MAR 21
    Buy from some of the best female artists in the region at this annual event.

    JUN 20
    The Eiteljorg will host a community celebration of the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth – a day that commemorates the end of slavery in the state of Texas. The event and museum will be free of charge and will include music, talks, dance, theatre, interpreters, children’s art and Western-themed activities, displays, food, vendors, and more.

    JUN 27 and 28
    2014 Indian Market
    Join us for this art market and celebration of Native American cultures, featuring art, music, storytelling, dance, food and family activities. 

    SEPT.  12 – OCT. 11
    This monthlong exhibition features new works by some of today’s best Western artists.
    Opening weekend Sept. 10-12. Fee for opening weekend.

    NOV. 14
    See the work of five of today’s best Native contemporary artists. This exhibit combats narrow perceptions of Native art and raises awareness of the full range of contemporary art.

    NOV. 21 -- JAN 2016
    Watch trains race from Indianapolis through the American West, passing a host of exquisitely reproduced icons, including Lucas Oil Stadium, the Grand Canyon, Golden Gate Bridge and more.

    DEC. 5
    Shop for unique holiday gifts at this annual market, featuring more than 30 regional artists.

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