How ‘Indigenous Beauty’ exhibit of Native art landed at Carlos Museum

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Comanche moccasins (circa 1870) from Texas or Oklahoma, , part of the touring exhibition "Indigenous Beauty: Masterworks of American Indian Art from the Diker Collection," opening Oct, 10 at Emory University's Michael C. Carlos Museum.
Comanche moccasins (circa 1870) from Texas or Oklahoma, , part of the touring exhibition "Indigenous Beauty: Masterworks of American Indian Art from the Diker Collection," opening Oct, 10 at Emory University's Michael C. Carlos Museum.

Comanche moccasins (circa 1870) from Texas or Oklahoma, part of the touring exhibition “Indigenous Beauty: Masterworks of American Indian Art from the Diker Collection,” opening Oct, 10 at Emory University’s Michael C. Carlos Museum.

Indigenous Beauty: Masterworks of American Indian Art from the Diker Collection,” the first major exhibit of Native American and Canadian First Nations art to be shown at Emory University’s Michael C. Carlos Museum, opens Oct. 10. And there’s an interesting back-story behind how this rare exhibit of Native North American art in Atlanta landed at the Carlos, whose focus is ancient art.

The seed for hosting the touring exhibition of 118 works organized by the American Federation of Arts was planted in 2013 when Rebecca Stone, the museum’s faculty curator of art of the ancient Americas, established a small gallery in the Carlos showcasing materials by Native Americans.

The Carlos has done limited collecting of any art from North America over its long history (Emory’s collection predated the museum, starting in 1876), so carving out the gallery for indigenous art marked something of a sea change. It also made the curator think of importing an even more ambitious showcase of such art.

“Partly because it’s in the (Emory) curriculum and partly because it should be there,” Stone explained. “Emory and Atlanta sit on land that was the Muskogee’s and we almost never acknowledge that, and I think that’s a good thing to remember. We can’t go back and change it but we can certainly remember and honor.”

Drawn from the collection of Manhattanites Charles and Valerie Diker, “Indigenous Beauty” includes prime examples of basketry, pottery, sculpture, masks, regalia and paintings.

“I think it serves as a great introduction for anybody, even if they don’t want to read any (exhibition) labels,” Stone told the AJC. “Just walk through and they’ll see, instinctively, how different the incredible beaded dresses and the painted hides are from the woven textiles, wooden masks and clay pots.”

Read more about the extensive show, and learn about five key objects in it, this Friday in the Go Guide and online at ajc.com and MyAJC.com.

A pot my New Mexico artist Tammy Garcia from the upcoming exhibit "Indigenous Beauty" at the Michael C. Carlos Museum

A pot my New Mexico artist Tammy Garcia from the upcoming exhibit “Indigenous Beauty” at the Michael C. Carlos Museum

EXHIBIT PREVIEW

“Indigenous Beauty: Masterworks of American Indian Art From the Diker Collection”

Opening Oct. 10. Through Jan. 3. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays, noon-5 p.m. Sundays. $8; students, seniors and ages 6-17, $6. Extensive related programming includes a talk by Santa Clara Pueblo potter Tammy Garcia, 4 p.m. Oct. 18. Emory University’s Michael C. Carlos Museum. 571 S. Kilgo Circle N.E., Atlanta. 404-727-4282, www.carlos.emory.edu.


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