The world-famous Heard Museum is one of the world's greatest living repositories of Native American art and culture. Beginning in fall 2013, a new exhibit at the Heard Museum North (the museum's second branch, which is located in Scottsdale) turns its focus on Native design and fashion throughout the twentieth century.
"American Indian Fashion: From Lloyd Kiva New to Now" opened in November 2013 and is scheduled to run until October 2014. The exhibit offers an in-depth look into traditional and contemporary Native design and fashion.The show displays clothing, jewelry and accessories from the Heard collection and several private collections to examine how fashion has helped shape Native identity and culture. It also provides a fascinating glimpse into how Native design has influenced mainstream fashion.
On display will be several pieces by Lloyd Kiva New, an influential Cherokee designer. New made his mark on the fashion industry in the 1940s and 1950s, when he sold several of his Cherokee-derived designs to major retailers like Neiman Marcus. Lee remained active in the arts and teaching until his death in 2002.
The exterior of Heard Museum North Scottsdale — Photo courtesy of Heard Museum
Visitors will also see pieces by young designers like Virgil Ortiz, a Cochiti Pueblo Native. Ortiz's work has been purchased by celebrities, royalty and fashionistas around the world. Ortiz, who comes from a long line of renown Pueblo artists, has collaborated with the likes of Donna Karan. He recently worked with the fashion mogul to design a line of boldly patterned textiles.
Since then, Ortiz has launched his own fashion line featuring everything from cashmere sweaters to leather jackets. Later this year, Ortiz will also debut Colorblind, a new T-shirt collection that blends graphic images with vibrant colors. The collection will portray Ortiz's interpretation of the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. Ortiz's work is a good example of how Native designers honor tradition while using their medium to innovate and make statements on Native identity and culture.
The exhibit "American Indian Fashion: From Lloyd Kiva New to Now" provides an eye-opening look at the breadth and diversity of American Indian fashion and design since the mid-twentieth century. The exhibit is free with admission.
Admission to the Heard Museum North Scottsdale is $5 for adults, $2 for children and students with ID and free for Heard Museum members and American Indians. While you're there, explore the two exhibition galleries, new museum shop and a garden cafe.
Free public guided tours with a trained and experienced docent are offered Saturdays and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Make sure to call ahead at (480) 488-9817, because tour schedules are subject to change.