Smithsonian Institution and Affiliate Collections Come Together for “Super Indian” at the Denver Art Museum

Special thanks for this guest post to: Eric Berkemeyer, Curatorial Assistant of Native Arts, Denver Art Museum

This October the Denver Art Museum opened Super Indian: Fritz Scholder, 1967-1980 which explores how Fritz Scholder used color and composition to create the powerful and innovative works of his Indian series. The exhibition features more than 40 monumental paintings and lithographs, including works loaned from Smithsonian Institution and Affiliate museums. With the support of these institutions the Denver Art Museum was able to realize an exhibition that fully engages with Scholder’s work from the period of 1967 to 1980; highlighting major themes and artistic approaches within the series.

rhino2

Fritz Scholder, “Indian and Rhinoceros,” 1968, Oil paint on canvas, 68 × 120 in. Collection of the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, 268066.000 Photographer: Walter Larrimore, NMAI, © Estate of Fritz Scholder.

From the National Museum of the American Indian comes two works that draw attention to Scholder’s Pop art sensibilities with their bright color, scale, and use of popular, everyday imagery. These paintings, Indian and Rhinoceros (1968) and Walking to the Next Bar (1974), also exhibit his interest in social issues such as the conflicted relationship between American Indians and the Federal government and alcoholism respectively.

Also on view is Indian in Contemporary Chair (1970) from the Smithsonian American Art Museum. With the figure’s gritty, expressionistic rendering, its inclusion contributes to the interpretation of English artist Francis Bacon’s influence on Scholder’s style and composition. Furthermore, the contrast of an Indian subject within a contemporary setting serves to challenge viewers’ assumptions of the place of American Indians in the present day, another theme that runs throughout the exhibition.

Fritz Scholder, Indian at a Gallup Bus Depot, 1969, Oil paint on canvas, 40 × 30 in. Booth Western Art Museum permanent collection, Cartersville, GA, 2013.011.001 Photo courtesy Louis Tonsmeire, Jr., © Estate of Fritz Scholder.

Fritz Scholder, “Indian at a Gallup Bus Depot,” 1969, Oil paint on canvas, 40 × 30 in. Booth Western Art Museum permanent collection, Cartersville, GA, 2013.011.001. Photo courtesy Louis Tonsmeire, Jr., © Estate of Fritz Scholder.

In addition to the fourteen works from the Denver Art Museum, works from two other Smithsonian Affiliates are also featured in the exhibition. From the Booth Western Art Museum is Indian at a Gallup Bus Depot (1969) depicting what Scholder called an “Indian cowboy” in front of an arcade machine, highlighting Scholder’s Pop art sensibility as well as the influence of his teacher Wayne Thiebaud. And, from the Heard Museum comes Indian Dying in Nebraska (1972) adding to the exhibitions exploration of dark and mysterious subjects.

With generous institutional support such as this, visitors to the exhibition are better able to explore the rich work of Fritz Scholder. The exhibition continues at the Denver Art Museum until January 17, 2016. It will then travel to the Phoenix Art Museum February 16, 2016 to June 5, 2016 and the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art in Overland Park, KS June 23, 2016 to September 18, 2016.

Affiliates in the news- Thanksgiving edition!

Congrats to these Affiliates making news!  If you have a clipping highlighting a collaboration with the Smithsonian or with a fellow Affiliate you’d like to have considered for the Affiliate blog, please contact Elizabeth Bugbee.

Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West (Scottsdale, AZ)
Video: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West now a Smithsonian Affiliate
The video features the presentation of the official certificate of affiliation from Richard Kurin, the Smithsonian’s Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture along with remarks from David N. Smith, Scottsdale’s vice mayor, Jim Bruner, chairman of the museum board, and Barbara Barrett, board member of the Smithsonian Institution.

Coastal Discovery Museum (Hilton Head, SC)
Coastal Discovery Museum becomes Smithsonian Affiliate — a new partnership that could help grow programs, improve visitor experience
“But I think more than increasing the number of visitors, (the affiliation) will increase the quality of the experience that people have when they come to the museum,” Garniewicz said

Coastal Discovery Museum named a Smithsonian affiliate
“The Coastal Discovery Museum’s recognition as a Smithsonian Affiliate will allow us to grow significantly in several areas related to our mission,” said Rex Garniewicz, director of the museum. “We are always seeking to improve our visitors’ understanding of how coastal wetlands will respond to a changing planet, and the Smithsonian’s Global Change Research Wetland is a great partner for improving our presentation of this science to the public.”

Tellus Science Museum (Cartersville, GA)
Tellus Science Museum’s Cartersville meteorite receives Smithsonian recognition
A four billion year-old meteorite which plunged into a house in metro Atlanta was officially recognized and named by the international Meteoritical Society with the assistance of the Smithsonian Institution during a ceremony on Wednesday at the Tellus Science Museum. 

The Rockwell Museum (Corning, NY)
Rockwell Museum becomes Smithsonian affiliate
It’s going to open up new things for the Rockwell and community; it will give people a reason to come back again and again,” Rockwell Museum Executive Director Kristin Swain said.

New Smithsonian partnership among highlights of Rockwell Museum’s 40th anniversary
Having the ability to access the Smithsonian’s collections, as well as those of the other 200 affiliates, will be an important element of creating that broader context, officials said.

Rockwell Museum Becomes Smithsonian Partner: The Rockwell is the first Smithsonian Affiliate in upstate New York
You won’t have to travel to Washington, D.C. to see some of the amazing artifacts in the Smithsonian institute- soon you’ll be able to see some of them right here in the Twin Tiers

The Rockwell Museum Joins Forces With The Smithsonian
The Rockwell Museum now has 139 million more artifacts, artworks, and living collections at its fingertips. That’s because it has become a Smithsonian Affiliate 

Schiele Museum of Natural History (Gastonia, North Carolina)
On the way: largest snake ever
This gives us access to different artifacts and things that couldn’t be done without the Smithsonian’s resources,” McGinnis said

National Atomic Testing Museum (Las Vegas, Nevada)
New museum executive director selected
Hall replaces Jim Braun, who served as director for six months after former Executive Director Allan Palmer retired last year. In his last position as the head of a museum, Hall was executive director of the Roswell Museum and Art Center in New Mexico.

San Diego Air & Space Museum (San Diego, California)
NBC 7 SAN DIEGO AND NBCUNIVERSAL FOUNDATION AWARD $100,000 TO THREE LOCAL NONPROFITS IN SAN DIEGO AREA
The San Diego Air & Space Museum adheres preserves, interprets, educates and shares its rich aviation and space resources. BEAMPro cutting edge programs inspire an interest in science, technology, engineering, math and innovation with schools that lack transportation funding. (They were awarded $25K)

Montana State University paleontologist Jack Horner visits a field research site in July 2013 near Livingston. Photo credit- Kelly Gorham/MSU

Montana State University paleontologist Jack Horner visits a field research site in July 2013 near Livingston. Photo credit- Kelly Gorham/MSU

Museum of the Rockies (Bozeman, Montana)
Famed paleontologist Jack Horner to retire from MSU
World-famous dinosaur scientist Jack Horner, whose discoveries about how dinosaurs lived changed paleontology, will retire next year from Montana State University and the Museum of the Rockies after 33 years. He said he intends to work with the Burke Museum in Seattle at the University of Washington, which is building a new museum 

Denver Art Museum (Denver, CO) [Exhibition includes a painting from the Smithsonian American Art Museum]
Denver Art Museum’s Wyeth show looks a little weird to Jamie
Strange to see your life flash before your eyes, he said, never knowing what curators will choose when they prepare a look back at his career. This one, titled “Wyeth: Andrew and Jamie in the Studio,” mixes, mingles and compares the paintings of the famous father and son artists. 

Denver Art Museum Strengthens Commitment to Native American Work
Early last month, the Denver Art Museum raised the curtain on “Super Indian: Fritz Scholder, 1967-1980,” an exhibition featuring about 40 colorful, rarely seen artworks by a controversial figure who died in 2005. 

Universidad del Turabo (Gurabo, Puerto Rico) and North Carolina Museum of History (Raleigh, NC)
UNC profs discuss Puerto Rican culture, literature in Smithsonian sessions
Scholars from the Smithsonian Institution and the Universidad del Turabo in Gurabo, Puerto Rico, discussed Puerto Rican culture and literature Thursday in a session available online at museums across the country, including the N.C. Museum of History. 

Scholars from the Smithsonian Institution and the Universidad del Turabo in Gurabo, Puerto Rico, discussed Puerto Rican culture and literature Thursday in a session available online at museums across the country, including the N.C. Museum of History.

Scholars from the Smithsonian Institution and the Universidad del Turabo in Gurabo, Puerto Rico, discussed Puerto Rican culture and literature Thursday in a session available online at museums across the country, including the N.C. Museum of History.

El Turabo y el Smithsonian discuten la diáspora puertorriqueña
“Este simposio es el resultado de la colaboración entre el Smithsonian Latino Center, las instituciones afiliadas al Smithsonian Affiliations y el doctor Félix Huertas, decano de Educación General de la Universidad del Turabo. 

Musical Instrument Museum (Phoenix, AZ)
A rare performance combining members of the world’s two leading Tex-Mex bands
GRAMMY winners Los Texmaniacs have been crisscrossing the world with music that incorporates rock and roll and jazz while honoring the roots of conjunto Tejano. They recently appeared at Austin City Limits with Flaco Jiménez and Dwight Yoakam. Max Baca, the founder of the band, has been a frequent guest with Los Lobos and won another GRAMMY Award a year ago for Flaco & Max: Legends & Legacies, his duo album on Smithsonian Folkways with Jiménez.

Senator John Heinz History Center (Pittsburgh, PA)
Smithsonian Awarded Carnegie Grant To Advance Digital Learning Practices
Teacher training at the pilot sites will be conducted by SCLDA, the Senator John Heinz History Center and Allegheny Intermediate Unit, which serves the county’s 42 suburban school districts and Pittsburgh Public Schools, and is made possible by a Grable Foundation grant.

People on the move:
Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture (Baltimore, MD)
Reginald F. Lewis Museum appoints new chief curator
Charles E. Bethea, who grew up in Bladensburg, becomes one of the most public faces of the Baltimore museum. He’ll apply his quarter century of experience working for museums and cultural organizations in his new role as the Lewis’ chief curator and director of collections and exhibitions