About This Exhibit:
The clay vessels in this exhibition reflect continuous formal and technical innovations by contemporary Pueblo artists. At the same time, these wildly creative works are grounded in kinship relations that connect their makers to sacred homelands, ecologies, and communities in the Southwest. Many artists pay homage to female ancestors, towering talents in the history of clay arts. Others work within extended networks of family, mentors, and collaborators who share time-sanctioned and novel methods. Experimentation takes place through tactile conversations with clay, a relative who influences the work’s final shape.
In a modern capitalist marketplace, “innovation” indicates a radical departure from history to create lucrative new products. Pueblo artists have altered this meaning while creating for the art market centered in Santa Fe, an economic crossroads for Indigenous makers across North America. From selling their work at train stops in the nineteenth century, to exhibiting at the first Santa Fe Indian Market in 1922, to managing virtual “booths” during a global pandemic, Pueblo artists have redefined innovation as a pursuit of novelty that strengthens, rather than breaks, bonds with ancestors. Clay shapes life-sustaining relationships, even as it is crafted into dazzling, sellable form.View this Online Exhibition