New clothes

Cen­ten­nial cel­e­bra­tion of artist LLOYD KIVA NEW

Pasatiempo - - ON THE COVER -

Lloyd Kiva New: Art, De­sign, and In­flu­ence

This Feb. 18 will mark 100 years since the birth of Lloyd Kiva New, a suc­cess­ful Scotts­dale fash­ion de­signer and in­flu­en­tial arts ed­u­ca­tor who co-founded the In­sti­tute of Amer­i­can In­dian Arts in 1962. The Mu­seum of Con­tem­po­rary Na­tive Art’s ex­hi­bi­tion Lloyd Kiva New: Art, De­sign, and In­flu­ence, the first of three ma­jor ex­hibits open­ing in Santa Fe in honor of New’s cen­ten­nial, is a show of rarely seen (and never-be­fore-seen) trea­sures. The ex­hibit, which opens Fri­day, Jan. 22, in­cludes a se­lec­tion of paint­ings that span his ca­reer, stu­dent-made tex­tiles that show his im­pact as an ed­u­ca­tor, and ex­am­ples of his fash­ions and ac­ces­sory de­signs. The other two ex­hibits are the Mu­seum of In­dian Arts and Cul­ture’s ca­reer ret­ro­spec­tive A New Cen­tury: The Life and Legacy of Chero­kee Artist and Ed­u­ca­tor Lloyd “Kiva” New, which opens on Feb. 14, and Find­ing a Con­tem­po­rary Voice: The Legacy of Lloyd Kiva New and IAIA, open­ing at the New Mex­ico Mu­seum of Art in May.

New, a Chero­kee, was born Lloyd Henri New in 1916. He was ed­u­cated at the Art In­sti­tute of Chicago, and then taught paint­ing at the Phoenix In­dian School in Ari­zona. He en­listed in the Navy in 1941 and served on the USS San­born, from the deck of which he wit­nessed the as­sault on Iwo Jima. He added “Kiva” to his name in 1946 when he opened his own stu­dio in Scotts­dale. Through­out the 1940s and ’50s, New’s shop sold men’s and women’s fash­ions, hand­bags, ties, and printed tex­tiles. In the mid-1940s, New also co-founded the Ari­zona Crafts­man Cen­ter in down­town Scotts­dale. In 1950, af­ter it burned down in a fire, the cen­ter was moved to an­other lo­ca­tion out­side the city.

A fea­ture of MoCNA’s three-part ex­hi­bi­tion is a replica of the in­te­rior of New’s Scotts­dale stu­dio, cu­rated by ar­chiv­ist Rose Marie Cutropia. The in­stal­la­tion is in the mu­seum’s Fritz Scholder Gallery. “On the back wall will be a mu­ral,” Cutropia told Pasatiempo. “We have this in­te­rior shot of the shop from Scotts­dale, and we’re hav­ing it blown up to fit al­most the en­tire wall. When you walk in here, it will look store-like,” she said. “You’ll have the hand­bags and six man­nequins dressed in men and women’s cloth­ing, and some of his iconic shirts with spe­cial but­tons de­signed by Hopi jew­eler Charles Loloma, who also did the clasps on the hand­bags.” The space also has steel racks to sup­port a num­ber of fab­ric swatches with printed de­signs by New, and two small chests of draw­ers, in­side of which are ephemera re­lated to his fash­ion busi­ness: ad­ver­tise­ments, busi­ness cards, a shop­ping bag, and sim­i­lar items. “On one wall we’ll have a con­tin­u­ous Power-Point slideshow of im­ages of him, him with the mod­els, the mod­els by them­selves, him with the prod­ucts. I’m hop­ing to have some au­dio ex­cerpts from an oral his­tory in­ter­view, too,” she said.

In Scotts­dale, New built up an ex­ten­sive clien­tele and sold his de­signs to high-end re­tail­ers such as Neiman Mar­cus. He de­rived de­sign mo­tifs from tra­di­tional Chero­kee iconog­ra­phy and art and reimag­ined them for his printed tex­tiles, help­ing to bring Chero­kee art into a con­tem­po­rary id­iom. In 1961, New ac­cepted a po­si­tion as art di­rec­tor at the In­sti­tute of Amer­i­can In­dian Arts (IAIA), be­com­ing di­rec­tor in 1967, a po­si­tion in which he served un­til his re­tire­ment in 1978. He died in 2002.

Lloyd Kiva New: Art, De­sign, and In­flu­ence in­cludes more than 40 printed stu­dent tex­tiles made in the 1960s and ’70s un­der New’s tute­lage. The tex­tiles are drawn from the mu­seum’s per­ma­nent col­lec­tion and have only been ex­hib­ited piece­meal un­til now, and in fewer quan­ti­ties. “He was teach­ing stu­dents to cre­ate the tex­tiles us­ing large screens,” said Ta­tiana Lom­a­haftewa-Singer, who is cu­rat­ing the tex­tile por­tion of the show. “The in­sti­tute kept around 200 or so of th­ese tex­tiles that be­came ac­ces­sioned into the per­ma­nent col­lec­tion. It’s all stu­dent-pro­duced works that are long and colorful, with all dif­fer­ent de­sign mo­tifs. They had been rolled up in stor­age for many years,” she said.

You can see cor­re­la­tions be­tween the stu­dent de­signs and New’s fash­ions, par­tic­u­larly the freefloat­ing Na­tive mo­tifs that New di­vorced from their orig­i­nal con­texts. He got his stu­dents to do the same. “Stu­dents were en­cour­aged to use fa­mil­iar mo­tifs in un­fa­mil­iar ways,” said Ryan Flahive, IAIA’s ar­chiv­ist. “That’s re­ally what his in­tent was. Elim­i­nate the box, take your In­dian art and pre­con­ceived no­tions of what In­dian art should be out of the box.” A lot of the

tex­tiles were used as draperies, wall-hang­ings, and ta­ble cov­er­ings — pur­poses for which they were in­tended — mak­ing them func­tional works of art. Most of the tex­tiles are un­signed and unattributed. “This is the first time we’re re­ally con­cen­trat­ing on th­ese tex­tiles and show­ing so many at once,” Lom­a­haftewa-Singer said. “Most peo­ple don’t know they ex­ist. Most peo­ple who know about our col­lec­tions know about the paint­ings of T.C. Cannon or Kevin Red Star or the sculp­ture of Doug Hyde. Th­ese are the kinds of folks they’re fa­mil­iar with.”

The tex­tile dis­play in­cludes an in­ter­ac­tive screen de­signed by Ideum that al­lows vis­i­tors to view tex­tile works in the col­lec­tion that did not make it into the show, as well as try their hand at de­sign­ing their own, based on a se­ries of tem­plates. The vis­i­tor-made de­signs can be pro­jected next to ex­hib­ited art­works.

Flahive, the ex­hibit’s paint­ing cu­ra­tor, is fo­cus­ing on New’s wa­ter­col­ors. “From what I can tell, that was his fa­vorite medium, wa­ter­color,” he said. Flahive is in­clud­ing four of New’s wartime paint­ings, made when he was serv­ing in the Navy, in­clud­ing a ren­der­ing of Iwo Jima from the per­spec­tive of the San­born. “I’m go­ing to have a panel with some sketches of a mu­ral he in­stalled on the boat,” Flahive said. “There’s an­other 80 or 90 pieces that he did that are wartime that we’re not show­ing. That’s a whole other show in and of it­self. The rest is go­ing to be a se­lec­tion of about 25 pieces. I worked very closely with his widow Ay­sen New, and Ay­sen is lend­ing us pieces for the show.”

The ear­li­est piece was cre­ated in 1938, a paint­ing of Pima women pick­ing cot­ton in the fields around Phoenix. “When he started teach­ing, that was some of the first im­agery that you see,” Flahive said. “He knew he was a suc­cess­ful fash­ion de­signer, and he gave it up to be­come a very suc­cess­ful art ed­u­ca­tor.”

Fab­ric and leather goods sales room, Stu­dio 10, Kiva Crafts Cen­ter, 75 Fifth Ave., Scotts­dale, Ari­zona, circa 1955, photo Stu­art Weiner; top left, Lloyd Kiva New, Scotts­dale, 1956; middle, Lloyd Kiva New: De­sign sketch of a “Kiva Bag,” ink on pa­per; all im­ages cour­tesy Mu­seum of Con­tem­po­rary Na­tive Arts

Left, Woman mod­el­ing Lloyd Kiva New hat, Scotts­dale, circa 1953; middle, New mea­sur­ing gold coat at fash­ion show, Scotts­dale, circa 1956; right, Kiva Crafts Cen­ter, Scotts­dale, circa 1956; below, top, Jenny Rush (Ponca), Un­ti­tled Tex­tile, ani­line dyes on cot­ton; bot­tom, Carol Fra­zier Aikens (Paiute): Un­ti­tled, 1976, ink on cot­ton, photo Ja­son Or­daz

Lloyd Kiva New: Un­ti­tled study for mu­ral on the USS San­born, circa 1945, wa­ter­color on pa­per; top, Lloyd Kiva New: Three Sis­ters, 1968, wa­ter­color and acrylic on pa­per; pho­tos Ja­son Or­daz

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