Published: August 23, 2016
NEWARK, N.J. — The Newark Museum will unveil its newly redesigned Native American galleries this fall. Featuring more than 200 objects from throughout the United States and Canada, a long-term installation, “Native Artists of North America,” opening Saturday, October 22, will present a fully reinterpreted selection of works from the museum’s permanent collection, dating from the early Nineteenth Century to the present, including many objects never before exhibited.
The Newark Museum began collecting Native North American art in 1910, and that collection has grown to more than 2,000 works of indigenous art from the continental Unites States, Alaska, Hawaii and Canada. While the arts of the Americas includes more than 4,000 objects, ranging from Alaska to Argentina and spanning the pre-Columbian era to the present, Native Artists of North America will focus on highlights from Newark’s comprehensive North American collection. By situating the new galleries at the entrance to the permanent installation of American Art, which will be renamed “Seeing America,” the museum reinforces the curatorial philosophy that Native American art is a crucial part of American art.
“This exhibition is about widening the story of American history to include underrepresented artistic and cultural voices, and introducing Newark and New Jersey audiences to American Art that better reflects them and the world around them,” said Steven Kern, the museum’s director and chief executive officer. “This newly expanded introduction to Seeing America will set the tone for the inclusion of multiple voices as visitors continue through the galleries.”
Twenty-seven tribal nations are represented in Native Artists of North America, grouped roughly by region to represent the richness of distinct geographic areas and the diversity of living tribal cultures. The result of a collaborative curatorial process involving a number of internationally recognized Native American artists and scholars, the objects on view are organized to highlight strengths of the collection, including Northwest Coast (Haida, Tlingit and Tsimshian), Northern California (Pomo) and the Southwest (Pueblo watercolors and pottery, and Navajo and Hopi textiles).
Among the works on view will be woven Pomo baskets, handmade items of dress from across the continent, and southwestern pottery and textiles. Other highlights will include works by the Haida master carver Charles Edenshaw and a rare bear rattle attributed to the Nineteenth Century Haida carver Sdiihldaa/Simeon Stilthda. Pueblo watercolors are another strength of Newark’s holdings, with strong examples by leading painters such as Fred Kabotie, Tonita Peña and Awa Tsireh. Additional works by contemporary Native artists will be installed both within Native Artists of North America and in nearby galleries of modern and contemporary American Art and Decorative Arts.
The Newark Museum is at 49 Washington Street. For information, 973-596-6544 or www.newarkmuseum.org.
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