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Exhibit to feature Native American pottery

Posted on January 05, 2011

ALLENDALE, Mich. -- Pottery making by Pueblo Indians in the American Southwest was transformed more than 100 years ago from the manufacture of utilitarian objects for everyday use to craft production for the tourist trade. An upcoming exhibition at the Grand Valley State University Art Gallery will feature distinctive ceramics from several pueblos, collected in the late 19th through the mid 20th century, including works by Maria Martinez, one of the most famous Native American potters of the 20th century.

Enduring Traditions: History and Meaning in Southwest Pueblo Indian Pottery, Selections from the Public Museum, Grand Rapids, Michigan, will have an opening reception on Thursday, January 14, at 5 p.m. The exhibition, which will run through Friday, March 19, and reception are free and open to the public. The GVSU Art Gallery is located in the Performing Arts Center, Allendale Campus. Parking is available in the Kirkhof lot. For more information call (616) 331-2563.

On exhibit will be more than 35 ceramic vessels belonging to 10 different pueblos from the Native American Southwest, spanning in time from 1890-2000. Many of these are on loan from the permanent collection of the Public Museum, Grand Rapids. Additional pieces are from Grand Valley's collection and loaned items from a private collection.

The exhibition will capture the beauty of these ceramics and demonstrate how the creation and interpretation of them transcends time. Several pieces will be juxtaposed next to their contemporary counterparts, showcasing an enduring tradition of 100 years. Some of the pottery will have ceremonial associations, such as the wedding vase, while others are utilitarian in function, such as the water urn.

Janet Brashler is a Grand Valley professor and curator of anthropology. She and her students, in a Peoples of Native North America class, assisted the Art Gallery by researching and writing the exhibition narrative.

"Students from the class were each given a pottery vessel to research," said Brashler. "They wrote a research paper about the tribe from which the pot originated, and then wrote a description of the pot for the exhibition. Their contributions are significant, and it connected them to the material culture of Native North America in a different way than simply book learning."

Related events during the exhibition include:

CANCELED:   Pueblo Pottery:  Understanding it as Art and Archaeology
Lecture by Marit Munson, Associate Professor of Archaeology Trent University
Monday, February 8, p.m. in the Art Gallery  
Snapshots from the Art Gallery: A Composition and Choreography Competition
Choreographed dance performances set to 60 one-minute original musical scores, all inspired by the works in "Enduring Traditions," produced and directed by William Ryan, associate professor of music, and Shawn T Bible, assistant professor of dance
Sunday, February 28, 5 p.m. in Studio Theatre, 1600 Performing Arts Center

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