Undaunted Spirit: Art of Native North America
Since earliest times, Native art evolved often after exposure to new designs and materials obtained mainly through trade or warfare between tribes. The arrival of Europeans in the New World, however, dramatically impacted artwork of indigenous artists not only through the introduction of exotic new materials but also the affects of cultural disruption caused by European colonialism.
The present exhibition in the Rand Gallery, Undaunted Spirit: Native Art of North America, traces the evolution of Native art by revealing human stories that tell of the great resiliency of Indian artists and how they maintained their artistic traditions while adapting to ever-changing conditions. Much of the artwork in this exhibition captures the undaunted spirit of artists who endured dire consequences of European colonialism. Despite loss of lands, forced religious conversion, and the introduction of foreign diseases for which they had no immunity, they have survived and continue to create exceptional works of art.
Today, the Museum is collecting exciting, innovative artwork of contemporary Native artists. Many of these preeminent artists –Preston Singletary, Jody Folwell, Kenneth Williams, Jr., Diego Romero, Douglas Miles, Marcus Amerman, and Lyndon Tsosie – to name just a few, are represented in Undaunted Spirit.
The Rand Gallery
On a visit to Montclair Art Museum, visitors can see exhibitions of Native North American art in the Rand Gallery, which is dedicated to indigenous art of the United States and Canada. The Museum has continually collected Native art since its inception in 1914. One of its two main founders, Florence Rand Lang, assembled one of the finest collections of Indian art on the East Coast. For more than 20 years, she built upon a collection of some two hundred baskets amassed in the late 1800s by her mother, Annie Valentine Rand. The Lang gift of more than 2,000 works of Native art forms the core of this collection, now numbering about 4,000 pieces.
Undaunted Spirit is funded by Audrey and Norbert Gaelen. Additional generous support provided by Paula Del Nunzio and Paul Balser, Holly English and Fred Smagorinsky, Tracy Higgins and James Leitner, Karen G. Mandelbaum, Carole and Malcolm Schwartz, and Margo and Frank Walter.
All Museum programs are made possible, in part, by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, and by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, Carol and Terry Wall/The Vance Wall Foundation, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and Museum members.