NEW YORK, NY.- The Metropolitan Museum of Art
's Art of Native America: The Charles and Valerie Diker Collection features 116 artworks from more than 50 cultures across North America. Ranging in date from the 2nd to the early 20th century, the diverse objects are promised gifts (first announced in spring 2017), donations, and loans to The Met from the pioneering collectors Charles and Valerie Diker. The collection has particular strengths in sculpture from British Columbia and Alaska, California baskets, pottery from southwestern pueblos, Plains drawings and regalia, and rare accessories from the eastern Woodlands.
Max Hollein, the Museums Director, commented: The presentation in the American Wing of these exceptional works by Indigenous artists marks a critical moment in which conventional narratives of history are being expanded to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions of cultures that have long been marginalized. The extraordinary gift of the Diker Collection has forever transformed The Mets ability to more fully display the development of American art, enabling an important shift in thinking.
Art of Native America is the first exhibition of Indigenous American art to be presented in the American Wing since it was established in 1924. Originally focused on Colonial and early Federal decorative arts and architecture, the Wings collecting areas have continued to evolve.
Sylvia Yount, the Lawrence A. Fleischman Curator in Charge of the American Wing, said: We are committed to exploring thoughtfully and sensitively the entangled histories of contact and colonization from both Native and Euro-American perspectives. The Met takes seriously its curatorial responsibility to share with our broad audiencesin a variety of displays and contextsthe cultural endurance and creative continuity of Indigenous American artists.
Art of Native America highlights production from seven distinct regions: Woodlands, Plains, Plateau, California and Great Basin, Southwest, Northwest Coast, and Arctic. Featured works cover all of the major artistic forms by both identified and unrecorded Native Americans: paintings, drawings, sculpture, textiles, quill and bead embroidery, basketry, and ceramics. Highlights include a ca. 1800 shoulder bag made from finely tanned and dyed deerskin hide embellished with porcupine quills by an Anishinaabe woman, possibly from Ontario, Canada; a striking ca. 18951900 ceramic jar depicting the Butterfly Maiden spirit being (Palhik Mana) by renowned Hopi-Tewa potter Nampeyo from Hano Village, Arizona; a monumental 1907 woven basket by Washoe artist Louisa Keyser from Carson City, Nevada; a masterfully carved 182040 Tsimshian headdress frontlet with abalone shell inlays from British Columbia; and an elaborate ca. 1900 dance mask by a Yupik artist from Hooper Bay, Alaska.
A core group of works from the Diker Collection will remain on view in the American Wings Erving and Joyce Wolf Gallery, while light-sensitive works will be rotated annually. Displays of Native and non-Native arthistorical and contemporarywill also be organized in response to the Diker Collection.