The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City is proud to present, “Pueblo to Pueblo: The Legacy of Southwest Indian Pottery,” open through April 8.
This traveling exhibit features 65 pieces from the Kansas City Museum and Union Station Inc. and another 23 pieces from the National Cowboy Museum’s own Pueblo pottery collection. Additionally, a number of photographs and documents are on display explaining to guests the importance of specific artifacts and their origins.
Pueblo pottery of the Southwest is one of the most beautiful and enduring artistic traditions in all of Native North America. It is a tradition rich with history – not only an expression of cultural identity, but also a reflection of the relationship between Pueblo peoples and the influences from outside their own community. Today, there are about 20 Pueblo tribes with a total population in excess of 50,000.
Pottery-making in the American Southwest is a tradition that first emerged about 2,000 years ago. Historically, it was a functional art form, passed from generation to generation over the span of centuries by people living in permanent villages known as pueblos. The pottery of each individual tribe was unique and distinguished by a variety of characteristics painted onto the surface, such as the clay source and shape of the vessels and designs, or lack thereof.
Artifacts in “Pueblo to Pueblo” date from the mid-19th to the mid-20th centuries, illustrating the remarkable variety of pottery created during that very dynamic time of transformation. Some of the vessels in the exhibition are very conservative and adhere to the traditional style of a particular Pueblo, while others incorporate innovations specifically designed for the retail market.
It is also during this time period that certain individuals, such as Nampeyo from Hopi and Maria Martinez from San Ildefonso, became recognized for the quality of their work. The exhibition includes outstanding examples of their work.
The exhibit is made possible by Smith Kramer Fine Art Services and curated by Bill Mercer, a researcher and scholar of Native American art. The Museum has organized a companion Native American art exhibition titled “The Sun and His Wife” and a robust schedule of art demonstrations, gallery walks and special activities. For more details go to the website.
Nationally accredited, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is located in Oklahoma City's Adventure District at the junction of I-44 and I-35. The Museum is open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call (405) 478-2250 or visit www.nationalcowboymuseum.org.
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