The innovative exhibition, Rethink! American Indian Art at Berkshire Museum, features both striking contemporary art and important historic art objects, on view from July 7, 2012 to January 6, 2013. An opening reception will be held Thursday, July 12, from 5 to 7 p.m. and a Family Day of programs and activities will take place on Saturday, July 14. Rethink! American Indian Art at Berkshire Museum is proudly sponsored by Greylock Federal Credit Union.
The exhibition will feature contemporary works of art in a range of media and techniques, from video installations, contemporary basketry, and beadwork to ceramics, sculpture, and glass, by accomplished artists Marcus Amerman, Jeremy Frey, Teri Greeves, Diego Romero, Preston Singletary, and Bently Spang. The exhibition also will include historic Native American art objects from Berkshire Museum’s permanent collections. Rethink! is co-curated by art historian Margaret Archuleta and Berkshire Museum’s director of interpretation Maria Mingalone and collections manager/registrar Leanne Hayden.
Six of the participating artists and co-curator Archuleta traveled to the Museum this past winter to take part in a three-day symposium where they were able to review, reflect, and share their stories, thoughts, and opinions about the Museum’s collection, and the relationship of their work to that collection. The sessions were filmed and are being used as a tool in the development of the exhibition. Due to the unique curatorial approach being used in the development of Rethink!, the exhibition will move past a typical anthropological interpretation of Native American cultural objects to present them for what they are: rich, vibrant artworks.
About the contemporary artists
Marcus Amerman, an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, was born in Phoenix, Arizona, and grew up in the Pacific Northwest. He is well-known for his intricate beadwork. Amerman received a BFA at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, and studied at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Amerman’s work is included in the collections of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, the Portland Art Museum, and the American Museum of Natural History, among others. Visit http://marcusamerman.com for more information.
Jeremy Frey is a Passamaquoddy basketmaker, based in Maine, who specializes in split ash baskets, as well as porcupine quillwork. Frey learned basketmaking from his mother Gal Frey, a renowned artist in her own right. Frey’s elegant baskets combine traditional shapes and patterns with contemporary influences. In 2011, Frey was the SWAIA Santa Fe Indian Market Best of Show Winner and took the Best of Show prize at the Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair and Market as well. His work is included in the collections of the National Museum of the American Indian, among others.
Teri Greeves is of Kiowa heritage, but was raised on the Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, taking up beadwork at the age of eight. Greeves earned her BA at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Greeves follows the Kiowa tradition of beadwork, telling stories with a contemporary twist. She has won many awards for her beadwork, including Best of Show at the SWAIA Santa Fe Indian Market in 1999. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Denver Art Museum, the British Museum in London, the National Museum of the American Indian, and many others. To see her work, go to www.jsauergallery.com.
Born and raised in Berkley, California, Diego Romero is descended from the Cochiti Pueblo and specializes in ceramics. Romero attended the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico; earned his BFA at the Otis Parsons School of Design in Los Angeles; and his MFA at the University of California, Los Angeles. His work is included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Denver Art Museum, the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, and the British Museum in London, among others. Romero’s ceramic objects reflect the influence of Ancient Greece with a comic book sensibility. To see his work, visit www.robertnicholsgallery.com.
Combining European glass-blowing tradition with Northwest Native design, Preston Singletary draws on cultural and historical images from his Tlingit ancestry for his distinctive artwork. Singletary entered the world of glass blowing as an assistant, working alongside Seattle-area artists such as Benjamin Moore and Dante Marioni. He studied at the Pilchuk Glass School and he also had opportunities to learn the secrets of the Venetian glass masters while working with Italian legends Lino Tagliapietra, Pino Signoretto, and others. Singletary’s work is included in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Seattle Art Museum, the Corning Museum of Glass, the Mint Museum of Art and Design in Charlotte, N.C., and the Handelsbanken in Stockholm, Sweden. His website is at www.prestonsingletary.com.
Bently Spang is a Northern Cheyenne multidisciplinary artist, author, and curator whose mediums include video, performance, mixed media sculpture, and installation. He holds an MFA from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. His work has been exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum; the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona; the Denver Art Museum; the Tang Museum at Skidmore College; the National Museum of the American Indian; and the Tacoma Art Museum, among many others.
Margaret L. Archuleta, of Tewa heritage, is based in New Mexico and is a doctoral candidate in Art History/Native Art History at the University of New Mexico. She is a curator and created an exhibition of Contemporary Native Art at the White House entitled, “Honoring Native America.” She is the former director of the Institute of American Indian Art Museum, Santa Fe, New Mexico, and was a curator at the Heard Museum of American Indian Art and History, Phoenix, Arizona.
Rethink! American Indian Art at Berkshire Museum is proudly sponsored by Greylock Federal Credit Union