Eiteljorg Museum

Indianapolis, IN




New Art of the West

May 6 - Aug. 7, 2000


What images do the words "Western art" conjure up? With those in mind, the Eiteljorg Museum's upcoming exhibition "New Art of the West 7" may surprise you.

New Art of the West is a biennial exhibition that brings the works of 20 contemporary artists to Indianapolis. These are artists who are Native American or are non-Natives living in or creating work about the American West. The exhibition runs May 6 through Aug. 7, 2000. (left: Anita Rodriguez, "Boda Bacalar," Acrylic on wood, 1998)

New Art of the West 7 is sponsored by Chubb Group of Insurance Companies and Rolls Royce.

The West - raw, romantic, violent, and not too culturally diverse - holds a place in the American psyche largely dictated by Hollywood. In keeping with the Eiteljorg Museum's mission, the New Art exhibition aims at correcting some of the misperceptions created by these stereotypes. (left: Brian Cast, "Between Science and Magic," Mixed media, 1997)

Contrary to common understanding, Latino, Asian American and Native artists are helping to define today's West, and those artists will be part of New Art of the West 7. For instance, Luis Tapia's carvings of santeros (saints) and Anita Rodriguez' images of el Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) reflect the Hispanic experience in the West, while Sean Chandler, George Longfish, Susan Point and Emmi Whitehorse express Native American experiences.

Hoosier artist Rudy Pozzatti of Bloomington, Ind., is contributing to the definition of the New West, too. Pozzatti is director of the printmaking department at Indiana University and co-founder of Echo Press, a professional print workshop. Educated at the University of Colorado in Boulder, he has lived and worked in Arizona and New Mexico, as well. "Travel has provided a strong influence in my life and work, where I have sought imagery and points of interest diverse from a more familiar environment," he wrote for the exhibition catalogue. His work has been on display at the Indianapolis Museum of Art and is in the Library of Congress and the Cleveland Museum of Art collections. (left: Colette Hosmer, "Still Life with Sheepshead Fish," Fish skeleton/minnows/mixed media, 1998; right: David Michael Kennedy, "Maxwell New Mexico," Palladium print, 1997)

Each artist in this exhibition creates work grounded in his or her unique combination of background, experiences, environment and cultural traditions. Dixie Friend Gay's work always has focused on myth, but her art in this exhibition strives to evoke "the spiritual nature of trees," she writes.

The career path of David Michael Kennedy of Santa Fe took a turn in 1989 after he photographed American Indian activist Leonard Peltier in Leavenworth Penitentiary, where he was serving out a life sentence. Brian Cast combines parts of the human figure with a variety of materials - lead, glass, wax, resin, found objects - to "create a more content-laden type of work," he writes.

George Longfish's art "revolves around issues that affect Native Americans as we pursue Truth," he writes. "Historically, many of the images of Native American life have been distorted and documented with prejudice. ... The images I create are meant to question the stereotypical romantic image of Native People so often portrayed in past as well as current media."

New Art of the West 7 is a sale show designed to add works of art to the Eiteljorg Museum's permanent contemporary collection, as well as to make today's finest Western art available to a Midwestern audience. The Eiteljorg takes a 30-percent commission from all sales; these funds are used to purchase works at the end of the exhibition's run. In 1998, the Eiteljorg sold nearly 50 percent of the exhibited work and added 12 pieces to its permanent collection. (right: Gloria Gaddis, "Windsouls (Beauty)," Triptych panel three, Oil on canvas, 1999)

"The Eiteljorg Museum is developing one of the most comprehensive and highest-caliber collections of contemporary Western art in the United States," said McNutt. "At the same time, it is the perfect opportunity for new as well as experienced collectors to enhance their own collections."

Three jurors selected the artists for New Art of the West 7. Don Haggerty is a retired professor at the University of California, Davis and the author of numerous books, including "Leading the West: One Hundred Contemporary Painters and Sculptors." Truman Lowe is a sculptor and professor of art at the University of Madison, Wisc., and one of the inaugural Eiteljorg Fellows. Jennifer Complo McNutt is the curator of contemporary art for the Eiteljorg. All works in the show must be original and must have been completed since 1996. (left: George C. Longfish, "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses," Acrylic on unstretched canvas, 1999)



Read more about the Eiteljorg Museum in Resource Library Magazine

Please click on thumbnail images bordered by a red line to see enlargements.

For further biographical information on selected artists cited above please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 2/1/11

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