Museum Info

Monday – Saturday:
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Noon – 5 p.m.

500 W. Washington St.
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Experience an abundance of Native American art now on exhibit

By Elisa G. Phelps, vice president and chief curatorial officer

Unrecorded Artist from the Navajo Nation
Necklace, 1970s
Silver, turquoise
Collection of the Eiteljorg Museum
Gift of Helen Cox Kersting in Memory of Dr. Hans Joachim Kersting, 2008.8.648
Featured in the exhibition Native American Customary Art 101

The next time you visit the museum, you may notice a major change. The Eiteljorg’s second-floor Native American galleries are now fully closed in preparation for the June 2022 opening of a brand new exhibit. You can read about the Native American reinstallation here.

While we await the reopening, there is still a lot of incredible Native American art to be seen elsewhere in the museum. The Paul Gallery on the second floor is currently home to a special exhibit, Native American Customary Art 101, which includes pottery, turquoise and silver jewelry, baskets, Hopi katsina carvings and beadwork. Especially noteworthy are the Great Lakes pieces including bandolier bags, moccasins and finger-woven charm bags. These are part of the more than 400-piece Richard Pohrt Jr. collection acquired by the Eiteljorg Museum in 2019 through a $2.83 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. This exhibit marks the first time they have been exhibited at the museum. Many more Great Lakes pieces will be included in the reinstallation.

Nearby in the Myrta Pulliam Gallery of Photography, you can learn about the history of Native peoples in Indiana at the timeline exhibit from Mitohseenionki, relocated from the old Native galleries.

The installation Fancy Shawl Project (2000) by Wendy Red Star (Crow), a 2009 Eiteljorg Fellow, is on view in the exhibition Powerful Women II: Contemporary Art from the Eiteljorg Collection.

The second floor also is home to Powerful Women II, an exhibit highlighting contemporary art by diverse women artists, especially Native American artists, including the stunning installation of Wendy Red Star’s Fancy Shawl Project. It’s part of the museum’s multi-year theme, Honoring Women. Contemporary Native art also will be featured in Shifting Boundaries, the 2021 Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship exhibit opening to the public Nov. 13. Each round of the biennial Fellowship program recognizes five Native artists and includes an exhibit, catalog, public programs, art acquisitions and a $25,000 unrestricted award for each artist. And looking ahead to February 2022, more impressive contemporary works will be on view in a new show, Contemporary Native Art 101.

Allan Houser (Warm Springs Chiricahua Apache, 1914-1994)
Untitled (Apache Warrior), 1937
Tempera or gouache on paper
2001 Eiteljorg Fellow
Collection of the Eiteljorg Museum, Gift of Drs. William and Virginia Zinsmeister
Artwork © Allan Houser Inc.
Featured in the upcoming 2022 exhibition Contemporary Native Art 101

The planned Native American reinstallation has three primary goals for visitors. We want them to understand that Native peoples are still here, Native peoples are diverse, and that Native art is on a continuum across time. Native American Customary Art 101, Powerful Women II, Shifting Boundaries and Contemporary Native Art 101 embrace these goals as they highlight art both past and present, and Native artists from across the United States and Canada. We hope that you will have a chance to enjoy these exhibits and the continuum of diverse Native American art they represent.

Continuing through May 2022 Gerald and Dorit Paul Gallery

Continuing through Jan. 18, 2022
Hurt and Harvey Galleries

Margot L. Eccles Arts & Culture Fund
AARP Indiana

Margot L. Eccles Arts & Culture Fund
Capital Group
Chase Private Client
Ice Miller LLP
Citizens Energy Group
Faegre Drinker
Indiana Arts Commission
Arts Council of the City of Indianapolis

February through December 2022
Hurt and Harvey Galleries

Editor’s Note: This article appeared in the October 2021 issue of Storyteller magazine.