Recent donations give a boost to Gorman Museum Collection

George Hunt Jr., Crooked Beak of Heaven, 1991. Red cedar, cedar bark, horse hair, acrylic paint, abalone, sinew, copper Gift from Gloria and Selig Kaplan
"Crooked Beak of Heaven," 1991 by George Hunt Jr. Gift from Gloria and Selig Kaplan
art by Dan Namingha, Gorman Museum
"Twilight #14," Dan Namingha

The fast-growing collection of the C.N. Gorman Museum is now even bigger.

Three recent donations brought 500 artworks to the collection: Northwest Coast art given by Gloria and Selig Kaplan and Jill and Michael Pease, and contemporary paintings from collectors Zelma Long and Phillip Freese.

The gifts bring the museum’s collection of contemporary Native American art to nearly 2,000 works, up tenfold over the past decade.

“Museum director Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie and I have worked to create and enhance our relationships with collectors,” said museum curator Veronica Passalacqua. “The collection has been growing faster than ever through the generosity of museum members, artists and private collectors.”

Jill Pease, Long, and Freese all studied at UC Davis and about one-third of the collection came directly from artists.

“The high proportion of artist gifts speaks to the Gorman’s relationships with Native American and other indigenous artists, and the long-standing commitment to representing current and contemporary art,” Passalacqua said.

Terrol Dew Johnson
Basket by Terrol Dew Johnson

The museum highlighted the gifts in “Recent Acquisitions from the Northwest Coast” last year and in the current exhibition “Recent Acquisitions from the Southwest.” 

“We’ve also embarked on an expanded exhibition program that reaches across the continent to represent the canon of Native American and First Nations art, and that has brought a wider range of museum visitors, including intertribal communities and collectors alongside our dedicated local visitors,” Passalacqua said.

The collection’s rapid growth has been part of the planning process to relocate the museum into the former Richard L. Nelson Gallery in Nelson Hall. The College of Letters and Science will also initiate a fundraising campaign to support the museum’s expansion.

— Jeffrey Day, content strategist in the College of Letters and Science

 

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