Thursday, April 24, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Gorman Museum anniversary offers a chance to reflect

4-HouserW

Allan C. Houser/Haozous (Pulling Roots), Fort Sill Apache , 1915-94), Searching for the Enemy, 1960, tempera on paper, 30 inches by 39 inches. (Ruth C. and Charles de Young Elkus Collection, California Academy of Sciences)

By
From page A1 | October 30, 2013 | Leave Comment

At a glance

What: Public reception to celebrate the C.N. Gorman Museum’s 40th anniversary

When: 3-5 p.m. Friday; regular hours are noon-5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays and 2-5 p.m. Sundays

Where: 1316 Hart Hall

Continuing: The anniversary exhibition, “Foundations: Native American Art,” runs through Dec. 6

The Carl N. Gorman Museum at UC Davis celebrates its 40th anniversary this quarter — and at a public reception later this week — but, really, the museum started about three years earlier in a room at the Tecumseh Center on campus.

Navajo artist Carl Gorman, who had joined the fledgling UCD Native American Studies Program, taught his first course in winter 1970 — “Indian Art in Cultural Perspective,” with workshop — during which time he gathered Native American artifacts to complement his teaching.

“As interest grew, more pieces were brought in, loaned and donated by students, faculty and friends,” writes Veronica Passalacqua, the museum’s curator, in a catalog for the museum’s 40th anniversary exhibition.

The collection grew rapidly in the Tecumseh Center (an old Army barracks that housed Native American studies), and, according to Passalacqua, “Gorman’s name appeared on the door and students began referring to it as his museum.”

So did the university, officially, upon Gorman’s retirement in 1973. The museum — after the barracks and other temporary quarters — has been housed in Hart Hall since 1992.

“For 40 years, the C.N. Gorman Museum has continued Gorman’s vision of bringing Native American and indigenous art and artists to the UC Davis campus, sharing with students, staff, faculty and regional communities the rich and diverse canon of contemporary Native American art,” Passalacqua writes.

In celebration of that rich history, the museum presents “Foundations: Native American Art,” specifically the work of key painters from the 1920s to 1970s.

“Walking through the exhibition is to revisit the foundations of contemporary Native American art, significant historical moments and the artists who formed and influenced this dynamic genre,” Passalacqua says in the catalog.

Many of the featured works, interestingly, are from the California Academy of Sciences — the Golden Gate Park landmark better known for its rainforest, planetarium and aquarium.

Delve into the academy’s department of anthropology, though, and you will find lesser known but extensive fine arts holdings such as the Elkus Collection of nearly 1,700 pieces of Native American art, including some 300 paintings and drawings.

Navajo and Pueblo artists of the Southwest are especially well represented in the Elkus Collection, gathered from 1922 to 1967 and including early works by some of the leading native artists of the era.

Passalacqua and professor Hulleah J. Tsinhnahjinnie, an artist and director of the C.N. Gorman Museum, had their pick of the collection for the Gorman exhibition.

“I love looking at collections, especially of early contemporary work, for purely selfish reasons,” Tsinhnahjinnie writes in the catalog. “I am transported back to my early years as an artist, which was nurtured by many of the Southwest and Oklahoma artists whose work is represented in the academy’s collections.

“So when Veronica and I were selecting works, it was as if I was visiting family. As I looked at works by Pablita Velarde (Aunty Pablita), I could hear the sound of her voice. When we leveled and hung the George Morrison piece, I envisioned a treasured family photo of Dad, George and me.” (Dad is the late artist Andrew Tsinajinnie, whose children’s surname differs in spelling.)

‘Negotiating their times’

In writing for the exhibition catalog, Passalacqua recalls the beginning of formalized instruction for native artists in the 1920s and ’30s, primarily “to create a genre of Native American painting that could participate in the broader art market and appeal to modern audiences.” This instruction took place at places like the University of Oklahoma’s School of Art; Bacone College in Muscogee, Okla.; and Dorothy Dunn’s Studio at the Santa Fe Indian School in New Mexico.

A generational change occurred in the 1960s, Tsinhnahjinnie says, when “the price of getting a foot in the mainstream art world seemed to be the abandonment of a rich native art history.”

Tsinhnahjinnie and others — “the daughters and sons of the ‘traditional’ artists, those who came from generations of artists” — continued to create art as their elders did, although most often the younger artists moved away from painting.

The anniversary exhibition, Tsinhnahjinnie says, “is but a glimpse into the incredible history of native artists who negotiated their times to create a foundation for future native artists.

“These are paintings that open the mind to Southwest monsoons waking the soil, cedar fires in the night, the sound of horses breathing heavy. Navajo being spoken, the powerful songs of Oraibi.

“Through these paintings, I am reminded of how prayer used to be and the strategies of keeping grounded as a native person in the early 20th century, utilizing any medium necessary to remember.”

This quarter, the C.N. Gorman Museum offers the opportunity for everyone to reflect on those memories — and to remember the Navajo artist who, 43 years ago, started the informal “museum” that grew into the real thing.

— UC Davis News

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
    4-H members get ready for Spring Show

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Will city move forward on public power review?

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

     
    Obama to Russia: More sanctions are ‘teed up’

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Suspicious fire destroys pond viewing platform

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    2 pursuits, 2 arrests keep Woodland officers busy

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
     
    Youth sports in focus on radio program

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Rummage sale will benefit preschool

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Concert benefits South Korea exchange

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Conference puts focus on Arab studies

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Davis honors ‘green’ citizens

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Water rate assistance bill advances

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Program explores STEM careers for girls

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Embroiderers plan a hands-on project

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Central Park Gardens to host Volunteer Orientation Day

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Volkssporting Club plans North Davis walks

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Hotel/conference center info meeting set

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    MOMS Club plans open house

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    Cycle de Mayo benefits Center for Families

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8

    Author to read ‘The Cat Who Chose to Dream’

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A12

     
    .

    Forum

    Things are turning sour

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

     
    The high cost of employment

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    High-five to Union Bank

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Broken sprinklers waste water

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Three more administrators?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Neustadt has experience for the job

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Here’s a plan to save big on employee costs

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

     
    Davis is fair, thoughtful

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Ortiz is the right choice for Yolo

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    .

    Sports

    DHS tracksters sweep another DVC meet

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Another DVC blowout for DHS girls soccer

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Young reinvents his game to help Aggies improve on the diamond

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    DHS boys shuffle the deck to beat Cards

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    DHS/Franklin II is a close loss for Devil softballers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Baseball roundup: Giants slam Rockies in the 11th

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    UCD roundup: Aggies lose a softball game at Pacific

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

     
    Jahn jumps to Sacramento Republic FC

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B8

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    Congressional art competition open to high school students

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    Emerson, Da Vinci to present ‘Once Upon a Mattress’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    Winters Plein Air Festival begins Friday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    Bach Soloists wrap up season on April 28

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A11

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Thursday, April 24, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6