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Evolving Traditions: Southwest Native Pottery and Silver

February 18, 2011


Navajo pin

Navajo pin, ca. 1940-1955

Over the past few months, the Academy has been converting a 900-square-foot balcony space on Level 3 into a new gallery, which will house a rotating display of specimens and artifacts from the research collections. The inaugural exhibit, Evolving Traditions: Southwest Native Pottery and Silver, is on view now through the rest of 2011.

Drawn from the Academy’s anthropology collections, Evolving Traditions highlights 250 pottery and silver jewelry pieces created by members of the Navajo, Hopi, and Zuni tribes and the Rio Grande Pueblos. The works of several 20th century artists are featured, including the dramatic black-on-black pottery of Maria and Julian Martinez, the wrought silver bracelets of Kenneth Begay, and the innovative jewelry designs of Charles Loloma. Roughly three-quarters of the objects come from the Elkus Collection, a gift from the family of San Franciscans Charles and Ruth Elkus, who collected extensively from the 1920s to the early 1960s in the Southwestern United States.

Seen together, the historic and contemporary objects demonstrate that certain designs persist over time and are carried on by successive generations of artisans. However, these designs also evolve as new customs, materials, and technologies arise.

Read more about the exhibit in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Hopi-Tewa jarCochiti Pueblo storyteller
Hopi-Tewa jar, ca. 1905                              Cochiti Pueblo storyteller, ca. 1980-1985

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