October 31, 2014

Heard Museum receives major Navajo textile collection

Lillie Touchin (Navajo), Storm pattern textile, 1986, 53” x 34”. This is one of the significant Navajo textiles given by Dr. Charles and Linda Rimmer to the Heard Museum.Santa Fe Collection to Be Featured in Upcoming Exhibits

PHOENIX, Ariz. – The Heard Museum of Native Cultures and Arts has been given another significant gift with the donation of the Santa Fe Collection of Navajo Rugs from Dr. Charles and Linda Rimmer of Amarillo, Texas.

The 77 Navajo textiles, created in the late 20th century, represent many styles handwoven by some of the most accomplished Navajo weavers. The collection features textiles from renowned artists such as Barbara Teller Ornelas, Ella Rose Perry, Larry Yazzie and Jason Harvey.

“We deeply appreciate the gift of the Santa Fe Collection of Dr. Charles and Linda Rimmer,” says Dr. Letitia Chambers, president and CEO of the Heard Museum. “The Rimmers’ collection of late 20th-century Navajo textiles approaches the size and quality of only two other major textile collections given to the Heard Museum in its 80-plus year history: the Fred Harvey Company collection of 19th-century textiles and the Read Mullan Collection of mid-20th century textiles. This donation completes the story of Navajo textiles to recent times and will prove invaluable to scholars and curators.”

Charles Rimmer says, “We are honored that the prestigious Heard Museum will now provide the opportunity for the artistry of the weavers in the Santa Fe Collection to be enjoyed with everyone.”

Visitors to the Heard can experience these exquisite examples of woven art in the upcoming exhibit A Turning Point: Navajo Weaving in the Late Twentieth Century, which opens at the Heard Museum on February 5, 2011. This exhibit, curated by Dr. Ann Lane Hedlund, showcases the gradual change in Navajo weaving that took place in the late 20th century as a traditional craft changed to include acclaim for weavers as artists, whose work is shown in urban galleries and who explore new aesthetics.

For A Turning Point: Navajo Weaving in the Late Twentieth Century, Hedlund, an anthropologist at the University of Arizona, selected 36 of the Rimmer textiles. The Santa Fe Collection is the subject of Hedlund’s 2004 book (available in the Museum Shop). Guided by interpretive panels, visitors will be challenged to find elements that represent both traditional continuity and powerful changes in each artwork.

“During the 20th century,” Hedlund recently observed, “American Indian weavers in the Southwest began to self-identify as artists and to explore aesthetics beyond tribal traditions. Simultaneously, urban galleries started featuring Navajo rugs as fine art, and collectors grew to recognize the spectacular beauty and significant cultural and personal meanings of Southwest textiles. The rise of individual artists, formal arts training and the titling of new pieces have become significant trends.”

The textiles demonstrate the fascinating and complex shift from traditional craft to fine art. They move away from anonymously made curios, functional home furnishings and trade goods to represent signed artistic expressions, focal display items and museum-quality investments. Like other artists, Navajo weavers of the American Southwest are affected today by challenging economic, cultural, and natural environments. Taking these into account, the exhibit emphasizes Navajo weavers’ successful efforts toward artistic self-determination, innovative production, and creative marketing.

The exhibit will be on display through May 22, 2011, and will be followed by a second exhibit, Navajo Textiles: 100+ Years of Weaving, curated by Dr. Ann Marshall of the Heard Museum. The second exhibit, which opens on June 9, 2011, will further explore the rich artistry of Navajo weavings, using textiles from the Rimmer Collection as well as other textiles from the Heard Museum collection.


About the Heard Museum - Since 1929, the Heard has educated visitors from around the world about the art and cultures of Native people of the Southwest. With more than 40,000 artifacts in its permanent collection, an education center and award-winning Shop and café, the Heard remains committed to being a place of learning, discovery and unforgettable experiences.

 

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