story and photos by Kayte Deioma
The M bus runs from the Plaza to Museum Hill, where four outstanding museums provide incentive to venture outside the city center. Two of these are part of the Museum of New Mexico.
I didn’t have nearly enough time to spend at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (MIAC) and Laboratory of Anthropology. Between them, they contain the most comprehensive collection of Southwestern anthropological artifacts in existence including over 10 million artifacts from over 12,000 archeological sites across New Mexico as well as Native American artifacts from across North America. Of course, only a fraction of these are displayed in the permanent and temporary museum exhibits. The MIAC also has touring exhibits and online exhibits that can be accessed from their web site.
The experiential exhibit, Here, Now and Always, uses the voices of fifty Native Americans to guide visitors through their diverse communities and histories. Narrative, poems and songs give life to the 1300 artifacts of daily life displayed in environmental context.
In the Buchsbaum Gallery of Southwestern Pottery nearly 300 pieces of Pueblo pottery are on display. Some of the earliest known pieces are on display, as well as the work of living Pueblo potters continuing the coiled pottery tradition.
Temporary exhibits include the Pottery of Santa Ana Pueblo on display through September 2006. The collection tracks the development of the unique pottery style of this lesser-known Keres-speaking Pueblo north of Albuquerque.
The work of 20 th century Cochiti silversmith Joe H. Quintana from the collection of Irma Bailey is on display through September 1, 2005. Items include intricate silver and turquoise jewelry, goblets, boxes and even a silver and turquoise dog collar that Quintana made for Bailey’s dog.
Through January 16, 2006, Iconoclashshows the work of David Bradley (Minnesota Chippewa) and Marcus Amerman (Choctaw). Both artists use painting and sculpture to satirize the way that mainstream American culture trivializes Native American people and culture by creating one-dimensional icons and labels.
In the new Masterpieces Gallery, Beauty Within shows the artistry of 100 practical Native American objects including a Chilkat blanket from the Northwest coast, painted pre-Columbian pots, intricate basketry, embroidered and beaded clothing, clay figurines and two exquisite black on black pots by famed San Ildefonso potter Maria Martinez. Beauty within closes October 23, 2005.
For additional information including online exhibits, visit www.miaclab.org.