We devoted one day to museums. We went to the Museum of International Folk Art and the Museum of Indian Art. The outside courtyard is a lovely place with cool sculptures and spectacular views of the surrounding mountains.
I bought myself 4 big art books there: Manilla Mexican Engraver by Mercurio Lopez Casillas, is a 207 page book crammed full of cool Mexican engravings from the late 1800's. Images of Skeletons, devils, acrobats, bull fighters and well just about everything Mexican.
I found another wonderful book called: The Ledger book of Thomas Blue Eagle published by Thomasson Grant 1994. It is a Christopher Award winer 1995, books for young people category. A magical book done in the style of Native American drawing, telling the story of a young native boy. I highly recommend it!
The other Native American book I found was: Art of The Ancestors Antique North American Indian Art put out by the Aspen Art Museum 2004. I found a lot of image in this book dealing with men inside animals and animals in men. The theme I have been working with with my Bird and Bee-men. They deal with it much better than I. It will be interesting to see how this new information plays out in Bee-man land.
The last book I found was: American Vernacular New Discoveries in Folk, Self-Taught and Outsider Sculpture, by Frank Maresca and Rodger Ricco.
The Folk Museum didn't have a catalog of the spectacular exhibition called: Multiple Visions: A Common Bond: A collection of Alexander Girard (who by the way came from Detroit MI). A collection of over 100,000 objects he and his wife collected over a life time. A fabulous collection of folk art from around the world. It was the highlight of my trip! The book I got covers a lot of the same ground and I truly love it. But I would still love a catalog of the Girard collection.
There was also an exhibition of Gees Bend Quilts. Sally turned me on to them a few years ago so it was pretty cool that we got to walk through the show together. They are wonderful! They also had some small prints based on the quilts that were really powerful!
The last exhibit we walked through at the end of a long day of looking at art was in the Museum of Indian Art. It was most possibly the poorest curration I have ever witnessed! We were holding back from breaking into fits of laughter. To be fare, part of this may have been due to fatigue. Let me give you an over view.
First you walk through a dark tunnel like one of those Mystery Spot, fun house. The floor is tilted and it is super dark the sounds of a thunder storm are playing on a tape loop. Then you emerge into a maze of juxtaposed images. All of these are meant to illustrate what Native Americans life was and what it is today. Our favorite was a pair of moccasins next to a pair of worn out running shoes! From deer skin to Nike! The other was a tee-pee in one corner and a partial view of a kitchen that looked like every rental apartment kitchens I have ever lived in. The same beige cupboards with wood trim and a crappy fridge. I may be wrong on this but I think a frog figurine from the 70's had a scrubber sponge in his mouth by the sink. There were records by Buffy Saint Marie, the same ones we had in our house when I was a kid! The exhibition told me absolutely nothing that isn't obvious and they basically said the same thing over and over. Being poor sucks! Living free is good!...point taken!
Luckily the rest of the museum was full of amazing art! The collection is strong and full of things I had never seen. You are struck over and over by how graphic and modern the pieces were. The colors, textures craftsmanship were superber. The thing that pissed me off most about the crap-ola exhibition is it wasted so much museum space! Come on Museum of Indian Art, get a grip! I know you can do better! The Native peoples are more and have more to offer than being victims of modern running shoes...Damn you Air Jordon!...damn you arch support!