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  • Grand and beautiful Native basketry exhibit reflects Perelmans’ generosity

    by | | Feb 22, 2018

    Perelman baskets exhibit

    A new exhibition at the Eiteljorg showcases the work of some of the most admired Native American basketmakers while celebrating two of the museum’s most generous supporters: Mel and Joan Perelman.

    The Perelmans recently gifted to the museum their collection of 147 baskets, cradles and bags spanning much of North America, with a particular focus on the Southwest and Far West regions. This gift is meaningful, as it fills gaps in the museum’s existing collections. A selection of objects will be featured in a special exhibit, Interwoven: Native American Basketry from the Mel and Joan Perelman Collection, in the Paul Gallery from April 14 to Aug. 5.

    “The Eiteljorg Museum has benefitted profoundly from the generosity of Mel and Joan Perelman over the past two decades,” Eiteljorg President and CEO John Vanausdall said. “Their exquisite judgment in collecting fine art of Native America and the West is reflected in this outstanding collection, representing many cultures, that the public will be fascinated to see. In light of the extraordinary quality of this basket collection in particular, it’s appropriate that we share it with the public.”

    These baskets are symbolic of the resiliency of Native peoples and are primarily the works of women, including Louisa Keyser (Washoe), Lena Dick (Washoe), Elizabeth Juan (Tohono O’odham), Lucy Telles (Paiute), Magdelena Augustine (Chemehuevi) and others, some whose names were not recorded. The baskets contain the love, care, and knowledge passed down through multiple generations that contributed to the survival of many Native communities despite dramatic and traumatic transitions of the late 19th through early 20th centuries.

    Crucial to the continuation of these arts is the inter-generational transmitting of knowledge about what materials work best for specific purposes, where to gather materials and the proper care and harvesting of materials; while also leaving room for innovation and personal taste in form, designs, and incorporating new materials. All are woven into each item. While many of the baskets have utilitarian roots, they also represent adaptation to a market economy. Some were made specifically for sale, such as the Washoe degikup, a globular basket form, developed in the 1890s. Other baskets range from the grand — an Apache olla basket measuring 26 inches tall and 24 inches in diameter — to an incredibly intricate and diminutive Makah basket.

    While the collection is mainly of baskets, it also encompasses Lower Klamath River basketry hats and other forms of woven items such as a Hoopa cradle and Nez Perce twined bag. The Perelmans also collected the work of living artists from numerous communities who continue the traditions and innovations seen in these earlier works.

    Love, care, and knowledge: These words not only apply to the many Native artists and their creations within the collection, but also to the Perelmans themselves. The Perelmans are among the museum’s most active supporters, and Mel serves on the board of directors. A previous Eiteljorg show, Spirited Connoisseurs in 2004, featured Western paintings and Native pottery, baskets and Katsina figures the Perelmans collected. The museum’s expansion wing, which was built in 2005 and doubled the size of the building, is named for them.

    To honor Mel and Joan Perelman for their support of Native fine arts and the museum, the Eiteljorg will host a special gala celebration Thursday, June 21. If you would like to join us in recognizing the Perelmans’ generosity, please visit www.eiteljorg.org or email mwhistler@eiteljorg.com for information about reservations.


    SPECIAL EXHIBIT
    Interwoven: Native American Basketry from the Mel and Joan Perelman Collection
    Gerald and Dorit Paul Gallery, Eiteljorg Museum
    April 14–August 5

    Gala celebration, 6 p.m. Thursday, June 21, presented by Oxford Financial Group, LTD.
    Co-chairs of the gala are John and Sarah Lechleiter.


    Image Caption: 

    (From left to right) Feather and yarn Tubatulabal basket, ca. 1905; Apache olla, 1918; feather basket by Rose Anderson (Pomo); two quilled birch bark containers by Bernard Parley (Burt Lake Band of Ottawa and Chippewa), 1995; beaded Pomo basket, ca. 1870.
    Gift of Mel and Joan Perelman

     

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

     






  • Meet our new librarian, Kristin Stout

    by Samantha Roll, marketing & communications intern | Feb 19, 2018

    Kristin Stout is an Indianapolis native and a veteran in the library science field, but her new position at the Eiteljorg Museum’s Watanabe Family Library and Stephen and Sharon Zimmerman Resource Center is affording her completely new opportunities. “Much of what I have been doing is well beyond the traditional roles of a librarian, and that in itself is exciting,” she said.

    kristinstout_resized
    Kristin Stout

    With more than 10 years’ experience as a professional librarian before joining the Eiteljorg, Kristin earned her MLS from Indiana University. She has background in Native American studies, women’s studies, history, and anthropology through her undergraduate education at Ball State University. After earning her masters, she moved to Savannah, Ga., where she worked as a full-time reference and instruction librarian at the Lane Library at Armstrong State University.

    Kristin brings a quirky sense of humor to the Watanabe Family Library. A lover of film, live music and comedy, she is excited to be back in Indianapolis to explore those in the city where she grew up, along with finding ways to share those interests with her three-year-old son. She is also a fanatic of Native jewelry. “I need to stay away from the gift shop upstairs,” she said of the museum store. “It’s a very dangerous way to spend a 15-minute break, I don’t recommend it – or maybe I do.”

    With an interest in Western history and Native American cultures, Kristin previously served as an intern at the Golden Spike National Historic Site with the U.S. National Park Service in Utah. She spent a summer at five different Native American reservations across Arizona and New Mexico with a team from Ball State University, conducting a cultural anthropology field study on contemporary issues facing Native peoples.

    “I think all of my personal interests and experiences with Native cultures as well as the fact that the Eiteljorg was looking for a librarian made this seem like the perfect fit,” she said.

    As the librarian at the Watanabe Family Library, Kristin succeeds Dana Duffy, who left to pursue a new position as education manager for the Monroe County History Center in Bloomington. Kristin’s main role at the Eiteljorg is to assist the general public during the library’s open hours. She is available to help with research and finding materials or information on Native American and Western art topics. With the help of volunteers, Kristin also manages the sale of materials donated to the museum that the library is unable to use.

    The bulk of her work is concentrated on serving the needs of the institution by assisting various museum departments.  “One thing that makes this site so special is that we are a shared system location with the Indianapolis Public Library. That allows me to communicate and collaborate with the 50 other branches from all over Marion County,” she said.

    Kristin’s largest and most exciting project has been working with James Nottage, the vice president and chief curatorial officer and Gund curator of Western art, in organizing and cataloging a recent donation of 1,400 books to the Watanabe Family Library.

    “There are aspects of the job that are a fun challenge for me and a great opportunity for me to grow as a librarian,” she said. “I’m most excited just being able to utilize the Native culture background that I have with what I do as a librarian.”

    Make sure to stop by the Watanabe Family Library to welcome Kristin as the newest member of the Eiteljorg Museum team.




  • Exhibit looks at how Hollywood Westerns shape perceptions of American identity

    by | | Feb 15, 2018

    The Reel West headline

    Worldwide, people often formed their first impressions of the West and of America not from visiting its vast landscapes but from seeing tales of the West flicker onscreen.

    A romanticized and fictional version of the West galloped across movie screens and on televisions, thrilling audiences while portraying a violent and often simplistic version of American life in the frontier era, with spurs jingling and showdowns at high noon. After a century of Hollywood Western films and decades of Western TV shows, the storylines have become more complex and nuanced. And while fans now are as likely to watch by streaming video, the power of Westerns to create perceptions of the American West is undiminished.

    To explore the role of Hollywood in shaping American ideas of morality, diversity and national identity, the Eiteljorg Museum will take a deep dive into the Western genre through its next featured exhibit: The Reel West. Opening March 3, The Reel West explores the historic, artistic and cultural significance of Western films and TV shows. Film costumes, props, paintings, movie posters and images from the early silent Westerns and mid-20th century classics up through today all are represented.

    Included in the interesting things you will see in The Reel West are:

    • A mask, hat, costume, gun belt and scarf worn by The Lone Ranger, actor Clayton Moore

    • A full costume worn by Hailee Steinfeld as Mattie Ross in the Coen Brothers’ 2010 remake of True Grit

    • Two hats worn by Clint Eastwood, on his early 1960s TV show Rawhide and years later in his 1985 film Pale Rider

    • Western hats or other costume items worn on camera by Western performers from several eras, including John Wayne, Tom Mix, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, James Arness, the cast members of Bonanza, plus Sam Elliott, Anjelica Huston, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jamie Foxx and many others

    • Interactive technology including touchscreens that museum-goers can use to watch clips from Westerns and to explore in greater detail the themes of morality, diversity and identity that Westerns portray

    • A small movie theater showing clips from film trailers of well-known Western movies

    • Hands-on interactives for all ages.

    Among the Western films highlighted in The Reel West is director John Ford’s 1956 epic The Searchers, starring John Wayne and Natalie Wood. Though films of that so-called “classic” era certainly could be entertaining with good-versus-evil storylines, they often overlooked and distorted the roles of women, Native Americans, African Americans, Latino and LGBTQ communities in the actual West. As audiences and cultural sensibilities changed, Hollywood Westerns evolved over time; so the exhibit also looks at important historical and recent Western films that better convey the West’s diversity, some more realistically, some satirically or ironically, some combining elements of other film genres, such as science fiction.

    Cast, The Searchers, Lilly, Full Permissions

    “We are thrilled to present The Reel West, as this yearlong exhibit has multigenerational appeal to casual movie fans, serious film buffs, Baby Boomers who remember iconic Westerns and younger people new to the genre,” Eiteljorg President and CEO John Vanausdall said. “Many special programming events are scheduled during the run of the exhibit where guests can learn more about how these films were made, thus enhancing their appreciation, understanding and enjoyment of Westerns.”

    Developed by Johanna M. Blume, the Eiteljorg’s associate curator of Western art, history and culture, The Reel West has been several years in the making. The exhibit includes art works from the museum’s collections, but Eiteljorg staff also traveled the nation to confer with other museums, collectors and studio archives that loaned costumes, objects and props for the exhibit.

    The Reel West, presented by Oxford Financial Group, LTD and sponsored by Ice Miller LLP, The Sunrise Foundation, Barnes & Thornburg LLP, the Indiana-polis Colts, Nordstrom, Frank N. and Patricia L. Owings and other sponsors, continues through Feb. 3, 2019 in the special exhibit gallery, and is included with regular museum admission.

    Original Westworld, Alamy, Promotion non-paid use, Exhibit Permissions


    A year of fascinating, fun programming for The Reel West

    The Reel West will kick off with a special opening reception Friday evening March 2. For information and reservations, contact Mary Whistler at 317.275.1316 or mwhistler@eiteljorg.com.

    Eiteljorg partner IMAX Theater will hold screenings of Western films throughout the exhibition. Tickets to an IMAX Western include Eiteljorg Museum admission. Check www.eiteljorg.org for details of film screenings.

    Here are other programming events in connection with The Reel West, all at the Eiteljorg unless otherwise noted:

    • Curator’s Choice talk, Women in Westerns: A sneak peek at The Reel West exhibition with Johanna M. Blume, noon March 2

    • Presentation by award-winning Dances with Wolves costume designer Cathy Smith, 1 p.m. March 3

    • Screenings of the silent films An Eastern Westerner and Safety Last! accompanied by the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, March 10 and March 11, at the Schrott Center for the Arts. Tickets available on the ICO website, www.icomusic.org

    • Lecture and gallery tour with Dr. Sue Matheson, Western film scholar, focused on art works that influenced John Ford films, 1 p.m. March 31

    • Presentation by Emmy Award-winning writer and co-producer of Into the West, Kirk Ellis, 1 p.m. April 7

    • Trivia night, chuckwagon grub, movie screenings and much more.

    More events are being added all the time; please visit www.eiteljorg.org for the latest details.

    Image Captions:

    Promotional artwork of Yul Brynner in Westworld, 1973
    Photo 12 / Alamy Stock Photo

    Cast in The Searchers, 1956
    Image courtesy Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

     

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





  • 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. 

     

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