Fenimore Art Museum to Open 6th Contemporary Iroquois Art Biennial

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COOPERSTOWN, N.Y.,SEPTEMBER 14, 2007—The Fenimore Art Museum will open Being Indian: The 6th Contemporary Iroquois Art Biennial, an exhibition featuring the works of Native American artists Peter B. Jones and George Longfish, on September 22. The exhibition showcases Iroquois pottery and vivid mixed-media paintings representing Native identity and the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) experience. The exhibition was developed in collaboration with guest curator G. Peter Jemison, a contemporary Native American (Seneca) artist and leading authority on the history of the Haudenosaunee. The exhibition will be on view through December 30, 2007.

“Peter B. Jones and George Longfish create art based on their experiences as “Indians.” They have set out to describe their lives through their art. Their art is reality-based, and while it may reflect the past, it is very much rooted in the ongoing present,” commented G. Peter Jemison, guest curator.

Peter B. Jones (Onondaga-Seneca) is a renowned potter and sculptor from the Beaver Clan, Onondaga Nation. Jones, who resides on the Cattaraugus Territory of the Seneca Nation of Indians, studied under Hopi artist Otellie Loloma while attending the Institute of American Indian Art in New Mexico. His pottery, which is derived from traditional Iroquois pit firing, hand-built coiling and slab construction, is admired and collected by community members, Native American art collectors, and museums across the country. Reminiscent of early Iroquois pottery, Jones’ art directly reflects the issues that have impacted the Haudenosaunee.

George Longfish (Seneca-Tuscarora) was the director of the University of Montana’s Graduate Program in American Indian Art from 1972-1973 and was Professor of Historical and Contemporary Native Arts at the University of California at Davis from 1973-2003. Through his roles as educator, curator, and artist, Longfish has contributed greatly to increasing the awareness of the contemporary Native American art movement through exhibitions featuring the works of Native American artists from across the country. Longfish is best known for his vivid paintings, which often use humor and irony, to address issues of Native identity. His work has been featured in many solo and group exhibitions including a 2004 exhibition at the Smithsonion’s National Museum of the American Indian.

Guest Curator G. Peter Jemison (Seneca) is the Site Manager for Ganondagan State Historic Site in Victor, New York, the location of a seventeenth-century Seneca town. A member of the Heron Clan of the Seneca Nation, G. Peter Jemison is highly regarded for his paintings, videos, and mixed media works on parasols and brown paper bags. The works draw upon the concept of orenda, the traditional Haudenosaunee (Iroquois Confederacy) belief that every living thing and every part of creation contains a spiritual force. Jemison’s artwork is intrinsically related to his overarching focus on Native American artistic and cultural heritage, which has led him to become a leading authority on the history of the Haudenosaunee, as well as one of the Seneca Nation’s most esteemed curators, writers, administrators, and political representatives.

About Fenimore Art Museum
One of the nation’s premier art institutions, the Fenimore Art Museum is home to an exceptionally rich collection of American folk art and American Indian art as well as important holdings in American decorative arts, photography, and twentieth-century art. Founded in 1945 in Cooperstown, New York, the museum is part of the New York State Historical Association (NYSHA), founded in 1899. The museum’s renowned Eugene and Clare Thaw Collection, housed in the American Indian Wing, is a masterpiece collection of more than 800 art objects, representing a broad scope of North American cultures. The collections of folk and American art include seminal works by Grandma Moses, Gilbert Stuart, Thomas Cole, William Sidney Mount, Benjamin West, and John H. I. Browere. The museum offers a range of interactive educational programming for children, families, and adults, including lectures and workshops for museum visitors and distance learning instruction for classrooms nationwide. The museum further explores and examines our cultural history by organizing and hosting nationally touring art and history exhibitions, including Grandma Moses: Grandmother to the Nation; Treasures from Olana: The Landscapes of Frederic Edwin Church; A Deaf Artist in Early America: The Worlds of John Brewster, Jr.; Winslow Homer: Masterworks from the Adirondacks; and Ralph Fasanella’s America.

The Fenimore Art Museum is located on 5798 State Hwy. 80, Lake Road, in Cooperstown. The museum’s Fenimore Café, overlooking beautiful Otsego Lake, features wonderful views and a tranquil setting amid the terraced gardens. The Museum Shop offers fine jewelry, art reproductions, and a wide selection of publications on folk art, history, and Native American art. Museum admission is $11 for adults, $9.50 for visitors age 65 and over, and $5 for children age 7 to 12; children 6 and under and NYSHA members are admitted free. Reduced price combination admission tickets that include The Farmers’ Museum and The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum are also available. The museum is open from April 1 through December 30. For museum hours or general information, please call 1-888-547-1450 or visit www.fenimoreartmuseum.org.

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For more information or images, please contact:
Christine Liggio/Public Relations Office
New York State Historical Association
Fenimore Art Museum/The Farmers’ Museum
Phone: (607) 547-1472/E-mail: cliggio@nysha.org

Press Release Category: 
Exhibition Press Releases
Publication Date: 
September 2007
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