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Virgil Ortiz: Le Renaissance Indigene

October 9, 2004 - May 5, 2005

(above: scarf and handbag designs by Virgil Ortiz)

The Heard Museum will present Virgil Ortiz: Le Renaissance Indigene from October 9, 2004 through May 5, 2005. Virgil Ortiz is a Native American artist who lives in Cochiti Pueblo, New Mexico.


Curatorial Statement:

Joe Baker, the Lloyd Kiva New Curator of Fine Art says the following about Virgil Ortiz in his Curatorial Statement:

Museums of art have largely relegated the so-called "cultural" arts to only a subsidiary role: as object, adornment, a stage for topical discussions centered around cultural significance and meaning. In Virgil Ortiz we find a Native artist who is breaking down that stage, utilizing his traditions as inspiration for new work that moves well beyond the expected, therefore redefining any notions we may hold of "traditional." These works are passionate expressions of the artist's experience both real and imagined. He, along with other Native artists of his "30-something" generation believe:


"in the imagination and in the variety of its architectures, (there is) not
one plan for all"
-from Resistance, by Barry Lopez


Virgil Ortiz represents the next generation of Cochiti Pueblo potters. He moves the artform into the turbo-charged realities of today, creating sinuous patterns on clay, fashioning fabrics on hard bodies, salting designs with decadence, remixing and making club-ready art, much like "the trapeze artists who were after some erotic moment in which sensitivity and action fit together perfectly." (Ibid.) The artist is equally at home on the Plaza at Cochiti Pueblo, the haute couture salons of Europe, the loud and boisterous fashion world of New York, the posh extravagance of Beverly Hills -- dashing off drawings on cocktail napkins in the belly of a transcontinental jet. But it is at home the work is created, bolstered by a legacy of generations of family artists working with clay. He does not differentiate between the supple cool surface of clay, the plush sheared texture of fabric, the malleable precise surface of metal. Materials both high and low interpret his body of work.

His goal is simple. He wants young artists to flourish -- through words, actions, images -- that transcend the shadow of classification and narrow definition. He wants by example to lead the way by creating beauty ­ providing one less space for complacency to take hold. (right: pendant and blouse designs by Virgil Ortiz)


Artist Statement:

Virgil Ortiz says in his Artist Statement:

My goal as an artist is to not get pigeon-holed in my craft and only stay within the American Indian galleries, only doing American Indian art shows. My main focus is to break out of that mold and pave the road for the younger generation, to show them to not be so afraid to break out of the norm, and to go and do whatever the hell they want. Art speaks for itself. That's why I never name my pieces. I don't like to tunnel vision the owner's idea of what it is. I want the owner of a piece of my art to grow with the piece.

(above: bracelet and clothing designs by Virgil Ortiz)

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