Native American Art

By Rust, Carol | Southwest Art, August 2001 | Go to article overview

Native American Art


Rust, Carol, Southwest Art


In the Museums

From coast to coast, eight Indian art museums worth a visit

Institute of American Indian Arts Museum

The internationally acclaimed Institute of American Indian Arts Museum is the only cultural center in the country that features contemporary art by and about Native Americans. Aptly located in an elegant Pueblo-style building in downtown Santa Fe, NM, the museum is a grand-scale showcase that features ongoing exhibitions of contemporary Indian art and other forms of cultural expression-all of which defy the stereotype of Indian handiwork as "crafts for tourists." It was founded in 1963 as the first multitribal institution to enhance, save, and defend indigenous art forms and the rich cultures from which they came.

The institute's fine-arts program has attracted students from nearly every tribe and every state and has been credited with propagating the Contemporary Indian Arts Movement and maintaining its momenturn. The museum offers a unique opportunity for visitors to experience the intersection between the creations and the creators, achieving the IAA's mission of "Indian art through Indian eyes."

The museum's collection is made up of more than 6,500 works of art created by IAIA students, faculty, and alumni as well as other renowned contemporary Indian artists.

The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday from noon to 5 pm.; from June through September, the hours are Monday through Sunday, 9 a. m to 5 p.m, and Sunday, noon to 5 pm

INSTITUTE OF AMERICAN INDIAN ARTS MUSEUM

108 CATHEDRAL PLACE

SANTA FE, NM 87501 505.983.8900

www.iaiancad.org

National Museum of the American Indian

The National Museum of the American Indian in New York, NY, part of the Smithsonian Institution, is recognized as one of the finest and most far-reaching collections of Native American cultural materials in the world. The Beaux Arts-style building that houses it and the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House is designated as a National Historic Landmark. The 1-million-object collection includes intricate carvings of wood, horn, and stone from the Northwest Coast, Navajo weavings and blankets, basketry from the Southwest, and Plains Indian painted hides and garments.

One powerful exhibit features 48 Plains Indian shirts, believed to be spiritually endowed, which the Indians earned the right to wear through acts of great bravery that are recounted in the shirts' decorative iconography. Brilliantly colored, complex Kiowa and Comanche lattice cradleboards-outstanding examples of bead design of the late 19th and early 20th centuries-are the centerpiece of another exhibit.

The collection became part of the Smithsonian in 1990. It was amassed from 1903 to 1957 by George Gustav Heye, who traveled through North and South America accumulating Native American objects that depicted the lifestyle and spirituality of their creators. The Heye Foundation's Museum of the American Indian opened to the public in New York City in 1922. The present-day George Gustav Heye Center opened as part of the Smithsonian in 1994.

The museum is open daily, 10 a.m. to 5p.m.; Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 8p.m. It is closed December 25. Admission is free.

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN

ONE BOWLING GREEN

NEW YORK, NY 10004-1415

212.668.6624

www.si.edu/nmai

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN

ONE BOWLING GREEN

NEW YORK, NY 10004-1415

212.668.6624

www.si.edu/nmai

Museum of Indian Arts & Culture

The Museum of Indian Arts & Culture in Santa Fe, NM, is a premier repository of contemporary and ancestral Native arts and culture. But it is also a laboratory, with Native peoples actively involved in research, scholarship, exhibitions, and education. This involvement gives the museum a fresh approach to interpreting indigenous arts and helps fulfill its mission of cross-cultural education. …

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