The Vilcek Foundation is pleased to present Grounded in Clay: The Spirit of Pueblo Pottery, with dual presentations at the foundation’s Manhattan headquarters and at The Metropolitan Museum of Art from July 2023 through June 2024. Developed in partnership with the School for Advanced Research (SAR), the exhibition includes more than 100 historic and contemporary works of Native American pottery originating in the Pueblo communities of what is now the southwestern United States.
The exhibition at the Vilcek Foundation opens July 13, 2023, and is on view through June 2, 2024, by appointment. Tours will be conducted by the foundation’s Native American Art Fellow, Povi Romero (Pojoaque, Cochiti, Santa Clara, and Ohkay Owingeh). To schedule a tour, please go to https://vilcek.co/gic-tour.
Living traditions: Pueblo Pottery
The works included in Grounded in Clay: The Spirit of Pueblo Pottery were selected by members of the Pueblo Pottery Collective from the Vilcek Collection and from the collections of the School for Advanced Research and the Indian Arts Research Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The collective, established specifically for the purpose of this exhibition, comprises more than 60 curators of diverse ages, backgrounds, and professions from more than 20 Native American communities, as well as non-Native museum professionals.
Curators wrote about the works they selected for the exhibition and its accompanying catalog. Grounded in Clay is enriched by their voices and the diversity of personal, historic, and cultural insights they bring to exhibition visitors’ understanding of these works. The curators’ essays range from recollections on the practices of gathering clay and preparing pigments to poetry and essays reflecting on the works and their meanings. Several curators wrote about the living traditions of pottery-making and the artists and makers today whose work links the present and future of pottery-making to the rich and important history of pottery-making in Pueblo communities.
Felicia Garcia (Chumash) of The Santa Ynez Chumash Museum and Cultural Center and of Native American Art Magazine writes, “Exhibitions like this are really pushing the needle forward within the field and changing the way that Native art is presented within these spaces. Through this diverse collective of Native voices, we can see what is possible within these institutions when it comes to representing Native communities in a more honest, positive, and accurate way.”
Expanding on the exhibition
As Grounded in Clay: The Spirit of Pueblo Pottery opens in New York, the Vilcek Foundation launches a digital experience, Pueblo Pottery: Stories in Clay, online. The foundation worked with Pentagram to develop the experience, which serves to highlight and expand on the curatorial insights that make Grounded in Clay so unique, and to bring these insights to a wider audience. Users can navigate three-dimensional views of selected works of pottery that were captured using photogrammetry with the support of foundation partners at Cortina Productions and Forum One.
The digital experience, Pueblo Pottery: Stories in Clay, is enriched by audio and video features with curators from the Pueblo Pottery Collective that provide context into selected works of pottery, and insight into pottery-making traditions more broadly.