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Top contemporary Native art featured in Eiteljorg exhibit Nov. 11-Jan. 28

by | Oct 10, 2017

Native Art Now! project includes TV documentary,
book, two-day artists’ symposium


INDIANAPOLIS – A new exhibition of some of the best contemporary Native American artworks of the past 25 years, Native Art Now!, opens Nov. 11-12 at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art. The field of contemporary Native art takes center stage in Indianapolis as the exhibit opening coincides with a gathering of leading Native artists, scholars and others for roundtable discussions, accompanied by a Native Art Now! television documentary and book.

As both a retrospective celebration and a summit meeting for artists, scholars and other influencers in contemporary art, Native Art Now! will encourage appreciation for today’s Native artists, and consider the future of the contemporary Native art field. The exhibition features 39 iconic works the museum acquired primarily through its Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship, including installations, paintings, prints, sculptures and glass and fabric art. Visually compelling works from artists Truman Lowe, Allan Houser, Kay WalkingStick, Meryl McMaster and Nicholas Galanin among others will be on view in the special exhibition gallery that opens to visitors on Saturday, Nov. 11.

Every other year since 1999, the Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship has selected a group of five contemporary Native artists and provided them grant support so they can continue to pursue their art professionally and receive greater recognition. Through the support of the Lilly Endowment Inc., the Eiteljorg Museum has purchased more than 200 works of contemporary art since 1999 and received gifts of approximately 200 more to add to its permanent collections. Of the 50 past Fellowship artists, 45 still are living and many are scheduled to attend the Native Art Now! opening events. 

“We in Indianapolis are proud to be stewards of one of the most important collections of contemporary Native art in the nation and to support the artists who created it. These works challenge conventional notions that Native American art is limited to particular styles or materials or focused on particular eras. Instead, they reveal how thought-provoking contemporary art can be and how relevant it is to issues of today,” Eiteljorg President and CEO John Vanausdall said.

Holly Wilson_EnoughA one-hour TV documentary that presents a more personal perspective of developments in contemporary Native art during the past 30 years has been produced by WFYI and will be broadcast at 8 p.m. Thursday Dec. 14 on WFYI-TV 20.1. It features interviews with artists, writers, administrators and collectors. Excerpts from the documentary will be shown during the artists’ discussions Nov. 11.

The Eiteljorg has produced a scholarly companion book for Native Art Now! that examines in depth the broad continuum of Native expression in contemporary art. The book will be available at the Frank and Katrina Basile Museum Store.  

Developed by a team led by Jennifer Complo McNutt, the Eiteljorg’s curator of contemporary art, Native Art Now! once it closes Jan. 28 is to travel to other institutions. Meanwhile, two other ongoing exhibitions of contemporary Native art are on view elsewhere in the Eiteljorg: In Their Honor and The Geometry of Expression.

For visitors, all exhibits are included in regular Eiteljorg admission: $13 for adults, $11 for seniors, $7 for youth ages 5 to 17, and children age 4 and under are free. Museum members are free. Parking is available in the White River State Park underground garage.

Meryl_McMaster_Anima (In Between Worlds)Coinciding with the exhibit opening Nov. 11-12 is a “convening” or academic symposium hosted by the Eiteljorg Museum that will examine the role of Native art in the contemporary art world and the obstacles such artists face today. Eiteljorg Fellowship artists and art scholars from across the U.S. and Canada will gather for the two-day facilitated discussion, led by a nationally known art and social justice expert, Betsy Theobald Richards (Cherokee Nation).

Those discussion sessions about contemporary art will be held in the museum’s Clowes Court and are intended primarily for working artists, scholars and art students. They are open to the general public, but reservations are required and there are additional fees for some events, including the opening celebration the night of Nov. 11. More details on reservations are at

About the Eiteljorg:
The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in White River State Park in downtown Indianapolis seeks to inspire an appreciation and understanding of the art, history and cultures of the American West and the Indigenous peoples of North America. Located on the Central Canal at 500 West Washington St., the Eiteljorg Museum recently was named one of the USA Today Readers’ Choice 10 Best Indiana Attractions.

Image captions for attached images:

Jim Denomie (Ojibwe, born 1955)
Blue Eyed Chief, 2008
Oil on canvas
Museum Purchase: Eiteljorg Fellowship

Holly Wilson (Delaware Tribe of Oklahoma/Cherokee, born 1968)
Enough, 2015
Museum Purchase: Eiteljorg Fellowship

Meryl McMaster (Plains Cree/Blackfoot, born 1988)
Anima (In-Between Worlds series) detail, 2012
Digital chromogenic print, 36 x 36 inches
Museum Purchase: Eiteljorg Fellowship



Media Contact:

Bryan Corbin
Public Relations Manager
Eiteljorg Museum

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