Indigenous Beauty: Masterworks of American Indian Art from the Diker Collection, which celebrates the visionary creativity and technical mastery of native North American artists from tribes across the continent, will arrive at the Toledo Museum of Art on Feb. 12, 2016. The exhibition is a rare opportunity for the public to see such a large collection of Native American art.
Organized by American Federation of Arts (AFA), the exhibition 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. Works in the exhibition show innovative uses of materials; precision of workmanship; ingenious deployment of pattern, design, and abstraction; and expressiveness of form and representation, qualities that have been valued across generations and remain valued today.
Indigenous Beauty 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.”
This exhibition, the first traveling show curated from the Diker collection, will be on view Feb. 12-May 8, 2016 at the Toledo Museum of Art. Entrance to the exhibition is free.
Toledo is the final stop on the tour. The exhibition was also shown at the Seattle Art Museum (Feb. 12-May 17, 2015); the Amon Carter Museum of Art (July 5-Sept. 13, 2015) and the Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University (Oct. 8, 2015–Jan. 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.
“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; Yup’ik 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; pictographic arts of the Plains; and Western blankets.
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 across generations.
Indigenous Beauty: Masterworks of American Indian Art from the Diker Collection is organized by the American Federation of Arts.
This exhibition is made possible by the generosity of an anonymous donor, the JFM Foundation and Mrs. Donald Cox.
The guest curator of the exhibition is David Penney, an internationally recognized scholar of American Indian art. His many publications include “North American Indian Art” (2004), part of the Thames and Hudson World of Art series. The fully illustrated exhibition catalog includes an essay by Penney along with contributions from a number of other experts.
The AFA is a nonprofit institution dedicated to enriching the public’s 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 presentation of this special exhibition is sponsored in part by Taylor Cadillac and supported in part by the generous members of the Toledo Museum of Art and the Ohio Arts Council.
Admission to the Toledo Museum of Art and to the exhibition is free. For more information, visit toledomuseum.org.