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Modernist Tapestry: Gloria Ross, Kenneth Noland and Native American Weavers


Saturday, December 4, 2009, 3:00-4:30 pm – Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Co-sponsored by the Santa Fe Weaving Gallery, with thanks to Jill Heppenheimer.

Friday, December 10, 2010, 3:30-5:00 pm – Arizona State Museum, Tucson, Arizona

Each year from 1979 to 1996, Gloria Ross traveled to the American Southwest and commissioned Native American artists to weave tapestries that were designed by Kenneth Noland, the modernist painter known for his bold abstractions. This collaboration is one of several described in Ann Hedlund’s newest book, Gloria F. Ross & Modern Tapestry, which traces Ross’s 34-year career in tapestry making from New York to Scotland, France and the American Southwest.

Twenty-five major tapestries were designed by Noland and woven by Pueblo and Navajo weavers. The visual imagery of each tapestry reflects both artist’s and weavers’ professional histories, influenced by Ross and the galleries she worked with.

In this richly illustrated lecture, Hedlund explores the challenges and significance of Ross’s cross-cultural enterprise, as she worked with the well-known Hopi weaver, Ramona Sakiestewa, and with five weavers from the Navajo Nation–Mary Lee Begay, Irene Clark, Sadie Curtis, Rose Owens and Martha Terry. The resulting tapestries have found homes in public and private collections across the country, including Arizona State Museum, which owns “Silent Adios II,” woven by Mary Lee Begay of Ganado, and the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, where “Valley,” also woven by Begay, resides.

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