Grounded in Clay: The Spirit of Pueblo Pottery establishes a new model for exhibition development and curation that centers the voices and living traditions of Native American people of what is now the Southwestern United States. The Vilcek Foundation worked closely with the School for Advanced Research and the Indian Arts Research Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on the exhibition, curated by the Pueblo Pottery Collective.
The Pueblo Pottery Collective is a collective of more than 60 Native American community members from twenty-two Pueblo communities in the Southwest. The collective includes potters, designers, and other artists, writers, poets, community leaders, and museum professionals. A small selection of non-Pueblo museum professionals were facilitators and writers for this project and are also part of this collective. The collective was established specifically for the development of this exhibition, to provide insights and perspective on selected works from two major collections of Pueblo pottery: the collection of the Indian Arts Research Center and the Vilcek Collection.
The catalogue, Grounded in Clay: The Spirit of Pueblo Pottery, centers the voices of members of the community curators from the Pueblo Pottery Collective. Collective members were invited to provide reflections on works they selected for the exhibition; the curators’ contributions include reflections on their experiences, historical background on pottery-making traditions, and insights into the meanings of pottery forms and decorations. The collected insights of the individual curators provide rich context to the works in the exhibition, and to the lived experiences of the Pueblo artists and communities whose pottery is included in the exhibition.
Elysia Poon, director of the Indian Arts Research Center at the School for Advanced Research, provided the preface to Grounded in Clay: The Spirit of Pueblo Pottery, facilitated the development of the exhibition, and also served as a member of the Pueblo Pottery Collective. The catalogue also includes curatorial essays by Joseph Aguilar and Nora Naranjo Morse, members of the Pueblo Pottery Collective, and curators of the exhibition.
Vilcek Foundation President Rick Kinsel facilitated the development of the exhibition, and also served as a member of the Pueblo Pottery Collective. Kinsel provided the catalogue’s afterword, which highlights the importance of building new models for the exhibition and stewardship of Native American art that center indigenous voices, experiences, and sovereignty.
Dr. Joseph Aguilar
Dr. Joseph Aguilar is an enrolled member of San Ildefonso Pueblo, and currently serves as an archaeologist with Bering Straits Native Corporation and as San Ildefonso’s Deputy Tribal Historic Preservation Officer. He received his PhD from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania.
Rick Kinsel is the president of the Vilcek Foundation. He has served on the board of directors of the Vilcek Foundation since its establishment in 2000, and was appointed executive director of the foundation in 2003. Kinsel manages the Vilcek Collection, conceives and facilitates the curation of traveling exhibitions based on the collection, and oversees the foundation’s primary operations in the award of prizes and grants in the arts, sciences, and humanities.
Nora Naranjo Morse
Nora Naranjo Morse (Kha’p’o Owingeh/Santa Clara) is a student, elder, and builder of things.
Elysia Poon is the director of the Indian Arts Research Center at the School for Advanced Research. With two decades of experience in the museum field, Poon’s career demonstrates a commitment to collaborative programming and community-based collections stewardship and care. Under her leadership, the IARC is at the forefront of national and industry conversations around how collecting institutions and Native American communities can work together to foster and promote cultural heritage and to further contemporary art practices.