Each Month We Ask Lead­ing Mu­seum Cu­ra­tors About What’s Go­ing On In Their World.

Western Art Collector - - CURATING THE WEST -

What event (gallery show, mu­seum ex­hibit, etc.) in the next few months are you look­ing for­ward to, and why?

Our next ex­hibit, fol­low­ing Win­ter Cel­e­bra­tions open­ing on Fe­bru­ary 2, is Cul­tural Ap­pro­pri­a­tion. The Smoki Mu­seum has been tack­ling dif­fi­cult sub­jects in ex­hibits for over 14 years, and this one will show that many so­ci­etal norms are of­fen­sive to Na­tive peo­ple, re­in­forc­ing our mis­sion of “re­spect and un­der­stand­ing.” Us­ing our own past as an ex­am­ple on how re­form your way of think­ing is at the very heart of this ex­hibit, and we hope that all vis­i­tors will go home think­ing about how they can change them­selves to embrace dif­fer­ent cul­tures and val­ues.

What are you reading?

I’ve just fin­ished There, There by Tommy Or­ange. It is a dis­turb­ing look at con­tem­po­rary Na­tive life in Oak­land, Cal­i­for­nia. Won­der­fully writ­ten.

In­ter­est­ing ex­hibit, gallery open­ing or work of art you’ve seen re­cently.

Staff and vol­un­teers re­cently vis­ited the In­sti­tute of Amer­i­can In­dian Art in Santa Fe. James Luna’s ex­hibit Take a Pic­ture with a Real In­dian is thought pro­vok­ing, sad and won­der­ful all at the same time.

What are you re­search­ing at the mo­ment?

I am reread­ing books by Vine Delo­ria, and all works in our li­brary deal­ing with cul­tural ap­pro­pri­a­tion. While the “Smoki Peo­ple” pro­vided a fine ex­am­ple, there are many oth­ers out there, some still per­sist­ing in the imi­ta­tion of our Na­tive peo­ple.

What is your dream ex­hibit to cu­rate? Or see some­one else cu­rate?

I hope to one day see na­tional recog­ni­tion of Kate T. Cory, with our mu­seum lead­ing the way. She was clas­si­cally trained, and pro­lific. We are for­tu­nate at the Smoki Mu­seum to have such a large col­lec­tion of her work, and we con­tinue to have pieces do­nated fre­quently. I would re­ally like to see many or­ga­ni­za­tions that hold her work come to­gether and cel­e­brate her through con­cur­rent ex­hi­bi­tions.

The Smoki Mu­seum in Prescott, Ari­zona. Kate T. Cory (1861-1958), Buf­falo Dancer

Cindy Gresser Ex­ec­u­tive Direc­tor Smoki Mu­seum Prescott, AZ (928) 445-1230 www.smokimu­seum.org

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