Eiteljorg Musuem Blog
  • Artist-in-Residence Norris Chee (Dineh) - through Nov. 2

    by Linda Montag-Olson, Public programs manager | Oct 18, 2013

    Each fall the Eiteljorg connects Indiana students with Native artists from across the United States. This may be the only encounter some students have with someone from another culture and the excitement is palpable as they realize American Indians are alive and well today. The public is invited to the studios on Saturday afternoons where the artists will be available to speak with visitors as they work on their own projects.

    Painter Norris Chee (Dineh) 
    Meet the artist
    Oct. 19 & 26
    1pm - 4pm
    Meet Norris, learn about his art and culture, and watch as he demonstrates his art-making techniques. 

    Airbrush workshop

    Saturday, Nov. 2
    10am - 3pm
    Fee $10 per participant
    (more info below)   

    Norris Chee (Dineh) is a painter who was raised in a very traditional Dineh home, and first learned to speak English in school. From his first pencil drawing on a second grade school desk, Norris knew he wanted art to be a part of his life.

    Norris will introduce students to Navajo culture and complete a drawing during his time with the group. Norris will share how animals and symbols play a part in the culture and language and how this was significant for the Navajo Code Talkers during WWll. Students will learn a Dineh word and draw a picture to help remember the word.

    Norris travels extensively across the United States entering art shows and winning awards, living his dreams of painting. Norris also works as an Artist in Residence for the state of Nebraska, visiting schools and communities, teaching students his artistic talents, methods and about the customs of his tribe.

    Pictured above:
    Norris Chee
    Eagle's Eye

    This workshop is fun for the entire family! Get to know Norris, learn about his Dineh culture and his artwork, then roll up your sleeves and get to work. With Norris’ guidance, participants will design and create their own stencils, choose colors and create their own airbrushed t-shirt to take home.

    Because exact-o knives will be used for preparing stencils, this workshop is open to ages 10 and up with an accompanying adult. There will be a 1-hour break for lunch.

    Pre-register by calling (317) 636-9378. Please indicate your shirt size when registering (Adult – S, M, L, XL or Youth – S, M, L).

    Fee $10 per participant (covers all materials)


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  • Meet the Fellows | Julie Buffalohead (Part I of V)

    by Jennifer Complo McNutt, Eiteljorg contemporary art curator | Oct 09, 2013

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

    Julie Buffalohead (Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma)

              My recent series reflects a journey of a more personal nature. The narrative tension my work creates emanates from the Native oral tradition of storytelling, while I blend in my own distinct strands of make-believe. –Julie Buffalohead

    Julie Buffalohead dreams a world. It is a world where oppressive societal mores are reenacted, challenged, and overcome by the meek. Small animals, rabbits and raccoons, birds and bears, and even Coyote the trickster have moments of tenderness, despair, and triumph as they meander through the ambiguous spaces of Buffalohead’s paintings.  

     Fearsome Critter, 2012. Mixed media on paper. Image courtesy the Bockley Gallery.

    Heart Sick, 2012. Mixed media on paper. Image courtesy the Bockley Gallery.    

    The Medusa Syndrome, 2010. Mixed media on paper. Image courtesy the Bockley Gallery.

         The fine, facile drawings are accentuated with the modeled and measured application of paint. It is an application that creates a quiet understanding of each element it describes, be it architectural or animal. Buffalohead creates a theater in the settings of her paintings: the woods, the bathroom, and the front yard, in a sandbox or a wading pool. The understated settings are the stage for monsters of domesticity, myths of motherhood, a fairytale history of America, personal experiences, and homage to Ponca culture. All are expressed through Buffalohead’s private visual language, a language so intriguing that it transports the viewer to another worldview: hers.

         Born in 1972, Buffalohead is an enrolled member of the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma. She received her bachelor of fine arts degree from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 1995 and a master of fine arts degree from Cornell University in 2001. She currently resides in Minneapolis and has received many prestigious awards, including the McKnight Foundation Fellowship for Visual Arts and a Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant. A prolific artist, Buffalohead pursues in her current work a tireless personal and sociopolitical investigation based on being a woman, mother, Native, and conscientious observer. 

    –Excerpt from Julie Buffalohead: Fighter of the Good Fight
    by Jennifer Complo McNutt 
    (from RED: Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship exhibition catalog).

    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.

    Julie 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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  • Eiteljorg Insider | 5 Questions with Navajo Rug Auctioneer Sherri Burnham

    by Jaq Nigg, Eiteljorg Festivals and Markets Manager | Oct 04, 2013

    As the general manager of her family business, RB Burnham & Co Trading, Sherri manages the daily operations in the Sanders, AZ trading post as well as all of the 15-17 auctions they produce and conduct, including the Navajo Rug Auction at the Eiteljorg on Oct. 5. She is the fifth generation in her family to work in the business of trading among the Navajo people, and has been doing it for over 17 years. As a Navajo, it is important to Sherri to do what she can to help maintain and preserve cultural traditions.

    If you could invite any artist to dinner, who would it be and why?

    I would love to spend an evening with the late artist RC Gorman. Not only is his art iconic in the southwest, he was also quite a charismatic character. I've heard many stories about him and would loved to have shared a meal with him and his entourage just to learn more about what inspired him.

    How do you spend most of your time?
    While not at work or on the road chasing auctions, I spend most of my time gardening and in the kitchen.

    What book are you reading right now?
    I just finished The Painted Drum, by Louise Erdrich. I am currently trying to read all of her works and am about half way through the list.

    If you had to evacuate your house immediately, what is the one thing you would grab?
    I think I would take as many photo albums as I could, granted that my family was safely out as well. My family home burned down when I was a child and somehow my parents saved our family albums and that seemed most important then and now.

    What sound do you love?
    I love being in the forest listening to birds chirp and the wind rustle the tree branches.

    Browse and bid on more than 200 vintage and contemporary weavings during this year’s auction, presented by R.B. Burnham & Co. Prices ranges from $100 to $10,000.

    IF YOU GO:
    Members only preview 
    8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
    Opens to the public      
    9:30 a.m. 
    Auction begins                        
    11:30 a.m.

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  • Bid on High-End Navajo Rugs, Oct. 5, at the Eiteljorg

    by Robert Tate, Eiteljorg director of merchandising | Sep 24, 2013

    On Saturday, Oct. 5, Eiteljorg members and visitors can raise their hands to bid on more than 200 Navajo rugs during the museum's annual auction. This year, Trader and auctioneer Bruce Burnham has honored our invitation to share his love and knowledge about contemporary and vintage Navajo rugs.
    Burnham’s family has been in the trading business for five generations, which makes him uniquely qualified to answer questions about collecting and displaying Navajo rugs and weavings. 

    The Burnham’s Trading Post is some 40 miles west of Gallup, New Mexico in Northeastern Arizona. Each year, they sell more than $1 million in rugs at 18 auctions. Proceeds from each sale go directly to the Navajo artists who created the rugs or weavings.  The artists gather at the trading post when he returns from auctions to collect their earnings. 

    Burnham, himself, lives on the Navajo reservation where his family has been trading rugs for more than 30 years. When asked recently whether he thought rug weaving was a dying art, he told the Arizona Daily Courier, “It’s not a dying art. There has never been a time you couldn’t open the back of a store and haul out more rugs than you can sell.”

    The Eiteljorg is privileged to have such a special relationship with the Burnham family.  According to their website, the Burnhams are credited with helping to develop several distinct rug styles including the New Lands Raised Outline, Burntwater, Germantown Revival and Spider Rock. Bruce Burnham is known nationwide for his expertise in buying and selling and his company’s innovation and quality in Navajo textiles. You can get a sense of what the Burnhams will bring to Indianapolis for auction if you visit their website at

    We believe this auction is the perfect opportunity for visitors to add to their collection or for new collectors to purchase a first rug or weaving. Those who attend the preview also have the benefit of holding rugs in their hands and examining them up close. The "Members-only" preview is also a great cultural experience which gives visitors an opportunity to learn about Navajo art.  

    Rugs sold at the event will range from $100 to $10,000. The average rug will sell for $350.

    If you’d like to see and feel one of the rugs that will be on display, make a trip to the Eiteljorg Museum Store where we have a 4X6 contemporary rug from R.B. Burnham & Co. on display.

    8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
    Navajo Trader and auctioneer Bruce Burnham leads “Members only” chat 
    *Eiteljorg members only

    9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
    General public arrives for auction preview

    11:30 a.m. – Navajo rug auction begins

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  • Meet Native American Artist-in-Residence Iva Honyestewa this Saturday

    by Linda Montag-Olson, Eiteljorg arts programming manager | Sep 16, 2013

    Each fall the Eiteljorg connects Indiana students with Native artists from across the United States. This may be the only encounter some students have with someone from another culture and the excitement is palpable as they realize American Indians are alive and well today. The public is invited to the studios on Saturday afternoons where the artists will be available to speak with visitors as they work on their own projects.
    Iva Honyestewa (Hopi)
    Meet her at the Eiteljorg, Saturday, Sept. 21
    1 p.m. - 4 p.m.

    This Saturday will be your last chance to meet Iva Honyestewa (Hopi).

    Iva is an award winning artist, who has been creating jewelry and baskets for nearly 20 years. Born in Gallup, NM and raised on the Hopi reservation, Iva owns an arts and crafts gallery in Second Mesa, AZ. Iva will share her basketry and the story of the Hopi baby naming ceremony, as well as talk about the Hopi path of life with visiting classes.  Students will consider and draw their own path of life, setting goals for the future as they work. 

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