Archive | August, 2010

Natural History Museum: New York. Is it the worst run museum in the City?

Hall of Northwest Coast Indians In my newly kindled interest in Northwest Coast American Indian Art, I went to see the great collection at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. It truly has a great collection, of not only Indian material, but an incredible pre-Columbian Collection, both from meso-America and South America. But, aside from some updated displays in the South American section, the other areas are conspicuously neglected. I have been going to this museum for 30 years now, and these areas have never been redone, light bulbs are out, the lighting is terrible and sepulchral, it is nearly impossible to see the great objects of art. And harder still to photograph, but thanks to the miracles of the newest iphone, I was able to take passable images. I was inspired to re-visit the Northwest Coast Indian collections by my bracelet. While I found nothing quite like what I have, they have a lot of great, if unappreciated objects. One frustrating thing is that they have amazing totem poles and carved […]

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Haida silver bracelet

I was just in Montreal, which I will post about soon, and bought a silver bracelet by a Haida artist named John Brent Bennett. I have always admired Northwest Coast American Indian art, but don’t know much about it. I respond to its highly stylized images, and the great skill and sophistication of much of the objects from those cultures. I have seen other bracelets, and so when I was in Montreal, I went to the Canadian Guild of Crafts on Sherbrooke St., quite close to the Musee Des Beaux Arts. And there were just three engraved bracelets by this Haida artist, and I chose this one because it had the most identifiable features. On wearing it, I have learned a lot about Haida art, and finally have been able to decipher the imagery. And now I understand why I love Northwest Coast Indian art; it is part of a shamanic culture that extends the rim of the Pacific Culture. You find echoes in its imagery from thousands of years and miles apart. It is […]

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