Aurora University's Schingoethe Center to open 'Transformations in American Indian Art' Feb. 21
The Schingoethe Center of Aurora University, 1315 Prairie St. in Aurora, presents a free spring exhibition focusing on contemporary American Indian artists in "Becoming: Transformations in American Indian Art," open now to the public through April 26.
A complimentary opening reception featuring live music, refreshments and Native dance will take place from 5 to 6:45 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21.
"American Indian artists are transforming their artistic traditions. With deep knowledge of the past informing the present, they offer a powerful and personal visual vocabulary, disrupting stereotypes of what Native American art is 'supposed' to be," said Meg Bero, Schingoethe Center executive director and curator of the exhibition.
Artist Wendy Red Star photographs herself in a detailed diorama of her own creation, making a statement on the inappropriateness of being displayed as a "vanished" race in natural history museums.
The contemporary collection includes works of art by some of the nation's most important American Indian artists, collected over a 25-year period. Some artists have used traditional forms with nontraditional materials, such as a basket made of handblown and etched glass by Northwest coast artist Preston Singletary and a pottery vessel made by Diné (Navajo) potter Les Namingha who paints colorful geometric designs with acrylic paint instead of glazes.
"The American Indian population does not live in the past," said Bero said. "The contemporary art displayed in this exhibit reflects these artists' perspectives as citizens of the 21st century and the issues of importance to them today."
Speaker Eduardo Díaz from the Smithsonian Latino Center will present a lecture at 7 p.m. in Tapper Recital Hall. To register for the reception or lecture, visit auartsandideas.com.
Díaz will talk about "Latino Representation at the Smithsonian." He is the director of the Smithsonian Latino Center and a 30-year veteran of arts administration. He is responsible for the management and delivery of exhibitions, public and educational programs and the Latino Center's Latino Virtual Museum. During his tenure, he spearheaded exhibitions "Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art" and "Cerámica de los Ancestros: Central America's Past Revealed." Current research initiatives include the Caribbean indigenous Legacies Project and the Latino D.C. History Project.
The exhibition highlights some of the most important Native American artists working today.
Their work can be found in the nation's finest museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and the Denver Art Museum. Some have apprenticed with master glass blowers from the U.S. and Italy, others have followed the traditions of their families who for generations have made pottery and baskets. Others have degrees from schools such as the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the London College of Art.
The exhibit has a mix of serious material such as a painting by artist Bunky Echo-Hawk depicting students in boarding school juxtaposed with a portrait of Beaver Cleaver, as well as art that is playful, such as a fully beaded skateboard, including the wheels, by Angela Sweberg or a tea party of charming animals in bunny slippers by Julie Buffalohead in her piece "Pity Party."
Located in the Hill Welcome Center Entrance Gallery, the exhibit "Stitches of the Soul/Las Puntadas Del Alma: Story Quilts from The National Museum of Mexican Art" also is currently open through April 26. Since 2008 the women of the community have been meeting to quilt personal stories of family and culture, an album of their lives.
As a university art museum, the Schingoethe Center has as a core mission of education. The museum is known for its historic collection of American Indian artifacts, mainly donated by the museum's founders, Martha and Herbert Schingoethe. This ethnographic collection is at the core of the Schingoethe holdings.
The Schingoethe Center of Aurora University is at 1315 Prairie St. in Aurora.
Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday. The museum is closed Saturday and Sunday. For more information on these exhibits, visit auartsandideas.com.