The Montclair Art Museum has collected Native American art since the its founding 1914. Recently, the museum announced that it will be developing new approaches to the curation and presentation of this collection with the help of a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation.
The foundation awarded the museum $320,000 to support the project. The main goal of the project is to indigenize the curatorial process by engaging the most current ideas about indigenous communities and museums and by moving towards a collaborative decision making process. The Luce Foundation grant will help fund an Advisory Board for Native American Art, a Project Curator of Native American Art, and two scholarly assemblies over a three year period.
The Advisory Board for Native American Art will begin work this summer to develop a description for the project curator position with the goal of hiring a curator in January or February 2021. The project timeline also includes plans to begin reinstalling the Rand Gallery, which houses much of the Native American art, by fall 2023.
MAM’s Interim Director Ira Wagner described how the grant will update the presentation of the collection. “The Luce Grant will allow MAM to transform a part of our founding collection of Native American Art into a presentation emphasizing contemporary thinking about the role of Indigenous communities in our society and the visual arts in America,” he said.
The Montclair Art Museum holds over 4,000 Native American art objects spanning a time period from ca.1200 C.E. to the present day. The collection focuses on seven distinct cultural areas in the United States–the Northwest Coast, California, the Southwest, the Plains, the Woodlands, the Southeast, and the Arctic. The museum often presents Native American art alongside non-indigenous art in an effort to create a broader understanding of the complexity of American history.
More on the grant and a full list of advisory board members can be seen here.