The Metropolitan Museum of Art will present Grounded in Clay: The Spirit of Pueblo Pottery in partnership with the Vilcek Foundation. The exhibition, developed by the Vilcek Foundation with the School for Advanced Research (SAR), includes historical, modern, and contemporary works of Native American pottery originating in the Pueblo communities of what is now the southwestern United States. Grounded in Clay includes exhibitions on view at the Met and at the Vilcek Foundation from July 2023 through early June 2024.
Dating from pre-contact to the present day, the featured pots—drawn from the Vilcek Collection and from the collection of SAR—connect and distinguish the lives of Pueblo communities, from New Mexico’s 19 Río Grande Pueblos to the West Texas community of Ysleta del Sur to the Hopi tribe of Arizona. The presentation at the Museum will also feature two commissioned works: a diptych by artists Mateo Romero and Michael Namingha, and murals by artists De Haven Solimon Chaffins and Mallery Quetawki.
Grounded in Community: The Pueblo Pottery Collective
Grounded in Clay: The Spirit of Pueblo Pottery first opened at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in July 2022.
“When we started this exhibition project in 2015, we sought out partners to facilitate meaningful connections with Pueblo artists and cultural leaders,” said Vilcek Foundation President Rick Kinsel. “We identified SAR as a collaborator early on, and together we worked to establish the Pueblo Pottery Collective—a group of more than 60 community curators—to lead the selection of objects for Grounded in Clay. This cooperation allowed us to realize the vision of bringing the lived experiences and cultural knowledge of Pueblo community members to the forefront in this exhibition.”
The Pueblo Pottery Collective includes curators of diverse ages, backgrounds, and professions from Native communities, as well as non-Native stewards of Native American art and culture. Curators selected works from the Vilcek and SAR collections and wrote about one or more items, thus emphasizing the exhibition’s focus on personal and community meanings as well as on the visual and material languages of pottery, while revealing their intimacy with pottery at home and in the greater Pueblo world. The curators’ firsthand knowledge of pots and potters, family rituals, traditional materials, and daily use grounds the exhibition’s themes of people and place.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
“This exhibition marks an important first in our institution’s history—a community-curated Native American exhibition that amplifies the stories, histories, and traditions of over 20 tribal communities and sovereign nations,” said Max Hollein, The Met’s Marina Kellen French Director. “We are honored to collaborate with the Indian Arts Research Center of the School for Advanced Research and the Vilcek Foundation to bring this exceptional exhibition to New York audiences as we continue to work to increase Indigenous experiences and voices in The Met’s exhibitions and programs.”
“This significant exhibition, a first for the Museum, not only presents an exquisite range of historical through contemporary Pueblo pottery, it also powerfully foregrounds the voices and perspectives of Indigenous communities and creators,” said Patricia Marroquin Norby (Purépecha), Associate Curator of Native American Art in The Met’s American Wing. “It is essential that we present Native American art with guidance from Indigenous source communities, while encouraging inclusive and thoughtful dialogue. We are thrilled to host this exhibition at The Met and to work collaboratively with individual artists and community members.”
Exhibition Details and Registration
Grounded in Clay: The Spirit of Pueblo Pottery opens at The Met on July 14, 2023, and is on view during the museum’s visiting hours through June 4, 2024 in the American Wing’s Erving and Joyce Wolf North Gallery.
The exhibition at the Vilcek Foundation opens July 13, 2023, and is on view through June 2, 2024 by appointment. To schedule a tour, please go to https://vilcek.co/gic-tour.