New Mexico, Situlilu (Rattlesnake) Katsina. Cottonwood, pine,
gesso, pigment, dyed horsehair, cornhusk, cotton cord, 191030.
14 1/2 × 7 × 2 3/4 in. Diker no. 835, Courtesy
American Federation of Arts
An exceptional opportunity for the public to see a large collection
of Native American art will be presented when the Toledo Museum
of Art hosts the traveling exhibition Indigenous Beauty: Masterworks
of American Indian Art from the Diker Collection.
The exhibition, which celebrates the visionary creativity and
technical mastery of Native North American artists from tribes across
the continent, opens Feb. 12 and continues through May 8 in the
Museums Canaday Gallery. Admission is free.
Organized by the American Federation of Arts (AFA), the show
features approximately 120 masterworks selected from the holdings
of Charles and Valerie Diker, whose collection is renowned as one
of the largest and most comprehensive in private hands. The objects
illustrate innovative uses of materials; precision of workmanship;
ingenious deployment of pattern, design, and abstraction; and expressiveness
of form and representation, artistic qualities that have been valued
across generations and remain valued today.
Indigenous Beauty, the first traveling show curated from the
Diker Collection,encompasses a remarkable range of cultural and
historical diversity. Works in the exhibition reflect artistic traditions
defined by geography, media and a common past.
We are particularly pleased to host this exhibition because
of our interest in presenting a diversity of cultural expression
currently not reflected in our collection, said Museum Director
Brian Kennedy, who brought an exhibition of contemporary Aboriginal
Australian art to TMA two years ago. Indigenous Beauty reminds
us that American art did not begin in the Colonial period but has
centuries-old roots in the traditions and practices of Native peoples.
Toledo is the final stop on the tour. The exhibition was also
shown at the Seattle Art Museum (Feb. 12May 17, 2015); the
Amon Carter Museum of Art (July 5Sept. 13, 2015) and the Michael
C. Carlos Museum, Emory University (Oct. 10, 2015Jan. 3, 2016).
The exhibition emphasizes the interrelated themes of diversity,
beauty and knowledge. The themes relate both to the original context
of the works and to the ways in which they might be experienced
by non-Native visitors in a museum setting.
British Columbia, Maskette. Wood, copper, opercula shell,
pigment, 17801830. 7 1/10 × 5 15/16 x 3 9/16 in.
Diker no. 681, Courtesy American Federation of Arts.
The objects demonstrate both functional and artistic qualities;
the range of objects is quite stunning, said Halona Norton-Westbrook,
TMA coordinator for the touring exhibition. The exhibition
is especially rich with art of the Northwest and Inuit peoples.
The work includes sculpture of the Northwest Coast; ancient
ivories from the Bering Strait region; Yupik and Aleut masks
from the Western Arctic; Katsina dolls of the Southwest pueblos;
Southwest pottery; sculptural objects from the Eastern Woodlands;
Eastern regalia; Plains regalia; and pictographic arts of the Plains.
Maps identify areas that have been occupied by specific cultural
groups, and introductory texts describe features that have characterized
these groups over time.
Visitors will be reminded there is not just one North American
Indian culture but hundreds of unique groups whose languages, mythologies
and customs evolved over centuries. The Dikers collection
provides a broad view of the complexity and historical specificity
of Native American art.
Indigenous Beauty celebrates Native North American artists whose
creativity and technical mastery have helped preserve cultural values
David Penney, an internationally recognized scholar of American
Indian art is the exhibitions guest curator. His many publications
include North American Indian Art (2004), part of the
Thames and Hudson World of Art series. The fully illustrated exhibition
catalogue includes an essay by Penney along with contributions from
a number of other experts.
(Nez Perce), Oregon or Idaho, Mans shirt. Hide, porcupine
quills, horsehair, wool, glass beads, pigment, about 1850.
32 11/16 × 60 2/3 in. Diker no. 666, Courtesy American
Federation of Arts
The AFA is a nonprofit institution dedicated to enriching the
publics experience and understanding of the visual arts that
organizes art exhibitions for presentation in museums around the
world, publishes exhibition catalogues and develops education programs.
The Toledo Museum of Art acknowledges with appreciation that
its presentation of this special exhibition is sponsored in part
by ProMedica, Taylor Cadillac and Dorothy MacKenzie Price and supported
by members of the Toledo Museum of Art and the Ohio Arts Council
sustainability grant program.
Indigenous Beauty: Masterworks of American Indian Art from the
Diker Collection is organized by the American Federation of Arts
and made possible by the generosity of an anonymous donor, the JFM
Foundation and Mrs. Donald M. Cox.
Admission to the Toledo Museum of Art and to the exhibition
is free. For more information, visit toledomuseum.org.