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Welcome to the Ralph T. Coe Center for the Arts

The Ralph T. Coe Center for the Arts is dedicated to increasing public awareness, education, and appreciation of indigenous art through its programs, exhibitions, and individual study. The Coe emphasizes hands-on experience, learning through actively engaging art—the collection you can touch. The Coe’s collection represents worldwide indigenous cultures, with its core encompassing the span of historic to contemporary North American Native works.


UPCOMING PROGRAMS...



The Coe is pleased to host The Future of Native Art, an evening of thought-provoking conversation between artists Eliza Naranjo Morse, Jason Garcia, and Les Namingha with curator Nina Sanders. The Future of Native Art is part of the Coe’s public programming in conjunction with the exhibition Catch 22: Paradox on Paper, guest curated by Sanders and including Naranjo Morse, Garcia, Namingha and other leading and emerging Native artists.

Artist panels often serve to highlight current artist projects or function as veiled marketing events for institutions or individuals. Yet, such conversations can provide artists opportunities to interact with both interested individuals and possible collectors alike. Is there a way that we can continue to use this format for sharing artists’ ideas? How can we make them better or more substantial? With The Future of Native Art, Sanders hopes to engage the artists and audience in a conversation regarding the role of such panels in artists’ careers and the art market in general and open up the possibility of actually changing how a panel works in the process.

This conversation, intended to be a communal experience between Sanders, Naranjo Morse, Garcia, Namingha and the attendees, will push on questions particularly significant to contemporary Native art right now. Why does the paradox of contemporary versus traditional continue to be used to frame Native artists? How are these artists operating in and out of the mainstream market of galleries, Indian Market, museums, and other venues? Where do they want their work to go and how do they want it to be consumed/shared with the public? Please join us for this exciting opportunity to share in the conversation!

The Future of Native Art has been generously supported by Meow Wolf.

Nina Sanders (Apsáalooke), is an educator, writer, and museum professional. She worked for the National Museum of the American Indian curating a collection of historic Crow photographs for the Smithsonian Online Virtual Archive, and works as a liaison for the Crow Tribal Culture Department. Nina works as a museum consultant and is leading a project to build a museum on the Crow reservation. Nina has written for the Smithsonian Magazine online, the Smithsonian’s Collections Online, and First American Art Magazine.

Eliza Naranjo Morse (Santa Clara Pueblo), has been immersed in artistic expression from the start: Her mother, grandmother, and much of her extended family are renowned ceramic artists, and she grew up surrounded by a tradition of creating pottery. Always comfortable with the art-making process, Eliza became interested at a young age in developing her ability to recreate on paper the world around her. She studied figure drawing at Parsons School of Design, figure drawing and painting at the Institute for American Indian Arts, and ultimately graduated from Skidmore College with a B.S. in art. Eliza has recently merged the work done based on her “western education” with the artistic traditions that she grew up with. “As a pueblo person who comes from a family of clay,” she says, “allowing these aspects of myself to interact resulted in drawings that better describe my perspective.”

Jason Garcia (Okuu Pin) (Santa Clara Pueblo), is the son of well-known Santa Clara Pueblo potters John and Gloria Garcia (known as Golden Rod), and the great grandson of the equally revered Santa Clara potter Severa Tafoya, Garcia notes he has been an artist all his life. He says, “I really don’t know much else...” However, in 2002, when he created his first “graphic tile,” he secured this calling while simultaneously expanding the norms of contemporary Pueblo pottery. His creative experimentation seamlessly blended ancient Pueblo designs, stories, and scenery with images taken from Western popular culture.

Les Namingha (Hopi-Tewa/Zuni) credits his aunt, renowned Hopi potter Dextra Quotskuyva, for guiding him through the process of pottery making, which served as his artistic foundation. As a prolific contemporary artist, Namingha thrives on traditional motifs with modernist influences. Constantly manipulating form and design, every Namingha piece takes cultural symbols and brings them adeptly into present day, making the artist a true innovator bound only by his imagination. The painting on his pottery is unique in its small size and tight detail, the extent of which is rarely seen in the medium.


Through March 30 see the exhibition

Catch-22: Paradox and Paper

Catch 22: Paradox on Paper, a selection of provocative works of contemporary art on paper from the collection of retired New York school teacher Edward J. Guarino, guest curated by Nina Sanders (Apsáalooke). This exhibition offers a discourse on paper regarding the paradoxes of living and working as contemporary artists of Native descent. While each artist in the exhibition addresses these issues through their own personal identity and practice, the conversations between the works of art convey a compelling image of art-making today. Artists include Rose Simpson, Sonya Kelliher-Combs, Jason Garcia, Jaune Quick-to-see Smith and Diego Romero, as well as select pieces by leaders of an earlier generation such as T.C. Cannon and Rick Bartow. Works range from Shan Goshorn and Sarah Sense’s modern adaptations of weaving and basketry that create textural and psychological statements on materiality, identity, and process or Eliza Naranjo-Morse’s conceptual self-portraits, all opening up a space of paradox and complexity.

Guest curator Nina Sanders’ artist-focused approach to these works thoughtfully emphasizes the artist’s process in the midst of life’s contradictions. She writes, “These individuals exercise their personal agency and practice indigenous resilience by rendering their thoughts and experiences into their work. Each individual artist’s idiosyncratic capacity to process life’s contradictions results in a wealth of captivating and meaningful contemporary art. I believe these 22 works are a manifestation of the complexity and paradoxical nature of Native peoples’ lives as they exist today. Each work is a personal story, a layering of observations, thoughts, hopes, and feelings.”

Edward J. Guarino is an author, educator, lecturer, and collector specializing in Native American and Inuit Art. He writes a monthly column on Native art and culture for the King Galleries of Scottsdale website. His work has also appeared in Native Peoples magazine and the magazine produced for the Heard Museum Indian Market. Works from the Edward J. Guarino Collection have been exhibited at the following institutions: the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Santa Fe; the Brooklyn Museum; the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg, Ontario; the Art Gallery of Alberta; the Esker Foundation, Calgary; the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College; the National Museum of the American Indian, NYC; and the Venice Biennale.

Nina Sanders (Apsáalooke), is an educator, writer, and museum professional. She worked for the National Museum of the American Indian curating a collection of historic Crow photographs for the Smithsonian Online Virtual Archive, and works as a liaison for the Crow Tribal Culture Department. Nina works as a museum consultant and is leading a project to build a museum on the Crow reservation. Nina has written for the Smithsonian Magazine online, the Smithsonian’s Collections Online, and First American Art Magazine.


Please stay tuned for programs associated with this exhibition or join our E-mailing list for the announcements by contacting us at info@coeartscenter.org.






Please visit us—it's FREE!
Every First Friday of the month, 1-4 pm, visit us for a behind the scenes experience of our collection of over 2,000 works of global indigenous art. Meet our staff and learn more about who we are and what we do.

OPEN HOURS: We are flexible, so whether is it a last minute spur- of-the-moment visit or planning far in advance—all are welcome, so please give us a call at (505) 983-6372 or email at info@coeartscenter.org. We look forward to seeing you soon.


Our programs change frequently, so please check back with us or join our mailing list for announcements.




CHEYENNE LEDGER BOOK ONLINE!
Online at Plains Ledger Art (PILA), you can see this amazing, but fragile Ralph T. Coe Center collection ledger drawing book. Created in the 1880's, the ledger book features striking images of courting scenes, soldiers, and Cheyenne warriors - many who are identified by name glyphs! This is certainly a book of artistic and historical significance.

Our sincerest gratitude goes out to the Plains Indian Art Project for making this possible — Thank you!



The Ralph T. Coe Center for the Arts is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Contributions are tax deductible to the extent of the Internal Revenue Code. Please donate now online, or checks can be mailed to the Ralph T. Coe Center for the Arts 1590 B Pacheco Street, Santa Fe, NM 87505. We thank you very much for your support.


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