A Living Tradition on View Now Through May 30, 2010
By Amy Hood
One of the world’s largest and most important collections of Native American baskets, representing 11 regions and more than 100 cultural groups, is now on view in a comprehensive exhibition at the Autry National Center in Griffith Park.
More than 250 objects are displayed, ranging in size from a tiny feather and shell-covered Pomo basket to massive Apache baskets created for the tourist trade at the end of the last century. Because the works shown have been selected from a remarkably wide-ranging and distinguished collection, visitors can see how the materials, techniques and designs of the baskets vary from region to region, reflecting different physical environments and cultures. Also evident are the distinctive styles of individual artists, whose signatures can be instantly recognizable to other weavers. The exhibition organizers have invited 13 contemporary basket weavers to serve as consultants in research and planning, and have purchased and included in the exhibition a basket from each consultant.
“The Art of Native American Basketry” is drawn from the 11,000 baskets in the collection of the Southwest Museum of the American Indian, considered to be one of the premiere holdings of its kind. The exhibition is presented at the Museum of the American West in Griffith Park. Both institutions are part of the Autry National Center, an intercultural organization dedicated to expanding our understanding of the diverse peoples of the American West.
“Basketry is one of the most important traditions of Native American peoples and, therefore, of the American West as a whole,” said John Gray, Executive Director of the Autry National Center. “We are proud that the Center is able to provide the public with such a complete and compelling overview of this tradition, thanks to the great collection and curatorial expertise of our Southwest Museum of the American Indian.”
“The unparalleled collection of the Southwest Museum reflects the great cultural and artistic diversity of the native peoples of North America,” said Steven M. Karr, curator of the exhibition and Acting Director of the Southwest Museum. “This rich multimedia exhibition tells the story of a living art tradition through the voices of the weavers themselves.”
The Autry Center’s Museum of the American West is open to the public Tuesday through Friday, 10 am-4 pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 11 am-5 pm. June 1 through August 31, the museum offers extended hours on Thursdays from 10 am-8 pm. The museum is closed on Mondays. Admission is $9 for adults, $5 for students and seniors 60+, $3 for children 3–12, and free for members, veterans and children 2 and under. Admission is free on the second Tuesday of every month.
For more information, visit www.autrynationalcenter.org or call (323) 227-6000.