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Text and photos courtesy of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Space Makers: Indigenous Expression and a New American Art Opens at Crystal Bridges This Spring

On April 13, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art will open a new exhibition, Space Makers: Indigenous Expression and a New American Art. The installation will take a deeper look at the mid-century American art movement known as the Indian Space Painters. It will examine the relationship between non-Native painters, the Indigenous visual and material culture that inspired them, and artists from the modern Native art movement who expanded upon such creative explorations through their own visual heritage.


Investigating these relationships for the first time, Space Makers reconfigures the history of American art and reveals its foundations in Indigenous space — aesthetically, geographically and sociopolitically. But the show will also examine present-day artists, connecting the works from Indian Space Painters to younger artists, such as Dyani White Hawk, whose beaded abstractions merge European modernism and Indigenous craftwork. Visitors will see how contemporary Indigenous artists have found inspiration in the cross-cultural conversation and continue to innovate on the shared visual elements to create new artistic worlds. 


The focus exhibition features loans from the Charles and Valerie Diker collection, one of the nation’s preeminent collections of the underrecognized Indian Space Painting movement, and is guest curated by Dr. Christopher T. Green, visiting assistant professor of art history at Swarthmore College. 


Space Makers is on view at Crystal Bridges from April 13 through Sept. 30. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

Untitled, Linda Lomahaftewa.jpg
Untitled, Ruth L. Lewin.jpg

Ruth L. Lewin
Untitled, c. 1945
Tempera on gesso panel
16 in. x 12 in.  
Robert Seliger and Mark Seliger

Honoring the Spirit of All Things.tif

Benjamin Harjo, Jr.
Honoring the Spirit of All Things, 2001 Opaque watercolor
39 3/4 in. x 27 in.  
Anonymous gift, 2012.009.004

Linda Lomahaftewa, Untitled, 1970s,
Collection of the artist. ©Linda Lomahaftewa. 
Photo by Jason S. Ordaz

She Gives (Quiet Strength V).jpg

Dyani White Hawk
She Gives (Quiet Strength V), 2019
Acrylic on canvas
60 in. x 48 in.
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 2020.4. Photography by Edward C. Robison III.

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