The first traveling exhibition from this celebrated collection of masterworks representing tribes across North America.
Drawn from the celebrated Native American art collection of Charles and Valerie Diker, Indigenous Beauty: Masterworks of American Indian Art from the Diker Collection showcases approximately 120 masterworks, including fine examples of basketry, pottery, sculpture, ivories, kachina dolls, regalia, and pictographic arts from tribes across the North American continent. The exhibition provides rare access to many exquisite works from one of the most comprehensive and diverse collections of Native American art in private hands.
Curated by David Penney, former Curator of Native American Art at the Detroit Institute of Arts, the selection emphasizes the interrelated themes of diversity, beauty, and knowledge, providing a bridge between Native realities inherent in the objects and the present-day values that inform connoisseurship and collecting practices. The objects are organized into groupings that share aspects of function, form, and narrative while being rooted in specific historical trends and events. Object groupings include sculpture of the Northwest Coast; ancient ivories from the Bering Straits region; Yupik and Aleut masks from the Western Arctic; kachina dolls of the Southwest pueblos; Southwest pottery; sculptural objects from the Eastern Woodlands; Eastern regalia; Plains regalia; pictographic arts of the Plains; and Western baskets. The exhibition’s structure foregrounds the social and historical contexts of these objects to shed light on communal values deeply embedded in cultural practice—the role of clothing in conveying religious significance, for example—in tandem with the artists’ individual experiences of a particular time and place.
Selections from the Dikers’ esteemed holdings have been presented at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1998–2000) and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian (2004–6), but this is the first traveling exhibition from the collection and features several recent acquisitions that have never before been seen by the public.
Authors: David W. Penney
With Janet Catherine Berlo, Bruce Bernstein, Barbara Brotherton, Joe D. Horse Capture, and Susan Secakuku
Publishers: American Federation of Arts, Skira Rizzoli (2015)
Dimensions: 9 ¼ x 10 ¼ in.
Format: Softcover, 191 pp
David Penney is the Associate Director of Museum Scholarship at the National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, D.C., and former Curator of Native American Art at the Detroit Institute of Arts.
Indigenous Beauty: Masterworks of American Indian Art from the Diker Collection is organized by the American Federation of Arts.
This exhibition was made possible by the generosity of an anonymous donor, the JFM Foundation, and Mrs. Donald M. Cox.