Native American and Precolumbian Art Transforms Galleries

Living Traditions: Arts of the Americas

Stanford, California — The Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University announces “Living Traditions: Arts of the Americas,” opening April 18, 2007, then continuing as an ongoing exhibition. This transformation of the art of the Americas galleries features work from diverse Native American peoples and times, new commissions of Northwest Coast art, and important collections of California, Southwest, and Mesoamerican art.

Manuel Jordán Pérez, the Center's Wattis Curator of the Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas, and Denni Woodward, assistant director of Stanford's Native American Cultural Center, consulted with Native American artists, students, community members, scholars, and Cantor Arts Center donors in redesigning the galleries. They collaborated to ensure the conceptual integration of works from different Native American peoples and times, to stress the theme of continuity in the diverse cultural and artistic traditions of the Americas by incorporating key contemporary works of art in “Living Traditions: Arts of the Americas.”

Sixteen figurative ceramics from the Vera Cruz, Maya, and West Mexican culture areas, a promised gift to the Center, are on display for the first time to complement the ancient Americas collection. In the newly named Rehmus Family Gallery of Native American art, commissions of new Northwest Coast works by renowned artist Calvin Hunt anchor the exhibition space. These include two fully carved, 10-foot-tall cedar posts topped by a 14-foot-long lintel, creating a massive threshold through which visitors may walk. A 14-foot-wide painted canvas, also created by Calvin Hunt, serves as a backdrop for two large bird masks. The masks, made by Northwest Coast artist John Livingston, are shown for the first time with full ceremonial dress. An additional display features a Northwest Coast chief's dress ensemble, including a very fine and fully decorated button blanket, leggings, and an apron, created for the Cantor Arts Center by artist Maxine Matilpi. More than 30 pieces of Northwest Coast art from the Fred and Marsha Rehmus collection are now on view in the reinstalled galleries.

The Native American Northwest Coast, California, and the South West are highlighted in the reinstallation as strengths in the Cantor Arts Center collections. Specially designed large cases allow for a greater percentage of the museum's Native American basket and ceramics collections to be presented. Interpretive material includes commentary by and photographs of Native American students and alumni. This puts the works in context of Native People's history and traditions that continue today.

The presentation is made possible by the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation, the Drs. A. Jess and Ben Shenson Funds, and the Cantor Arts Center's Wattis Program Fund.

VISITOR INFORMATION: The Cantor Arts Center is open Wednesday – Sunday, 11 am – 5 pm, Thursday until 8 pm, including Easter Sunday. Admission is free. The Center is located on the Stanford campus, off Palm Drive at Museum Way. Parking is free on weekends and after 4 p.m. on weekdays. For information, call 650-723-4177, or visit website

Native American Gallery