Tuesday, November 6, 2007

American Art, Art in Embassies Artists, "We are All Knots"

"We Are All Knots" Print Portfolio by Five Influential Native American Artists
projects like this literally take an entire community of people with vision and unyielding dedication to make them a reality, and you all have the heartfelt thanks from the artists for making it special. This project made it clear that it took a whole spectrum of people that crossed all cultural demographics, and especially needed bipartisanship from our political arena in Washington DC. If it were to be truly American, it couldn't be from one demographic or political party." said McNeil.

First Lady Laura Bush attended the unveiling of the Art in Embassies lithographs made by the artists Norman Aikers, Mario Martinez, Larry McNeil, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith and Marie Watt. The unveiling took place at the Blair House in Washington DC on November 14th in a ceremony that was also attended by officials from the State Department, Art in Embassies project, The National Museum of the American Indian and Marjorie Devon, the Director of the Tamarind Institute in Albuquerque, NM.

Professor McNeil was quoted as saying, "The art was consciously designed to act as an ambassador for American people to the people of the world, especially since the art is going to be placed in American embassies in other countries. I was thinking of how people from other countries perceive American identity and how very special it is to have the opportunity to influence their interpretations of us. When foreigners go to an American embassy, my intent with the art was to challenge their intellectual acumen on a few different levels. I love the idea of making art that was designed to act so specifically as an ambassador for our people. I was thinking of who we really are as Americans, both Indigenous and the proverbial “melting pot” that forms our collective identity. With my own art, I was thinking of early Cowboy and Indian films that formed the world's perception of who we are, especially as a mythical place. If we can take outdated stereotypical ideas and laugh about them, we acknowledge that they were indeed a bit absurd and we can move on in a good way."

McNeil also said, "I'd like to thank everyone associated with the State Department's Arts in Embassies Project, the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, and the Tamarind Art Institute for making this project a reality. Everyone was very gracious and worked hard to make the unveiling ceremony very special and memorable, including First Lady Laura Bush, Jill Cooper Udall (Project Director), Robert N. Snyder, Catherine Stevens, Richard Ullman, the Honorable Howard Wilkins, Randall Willis, Nancy Goodman Brinker (Chief of Protocol at the State Department), Kathleen Ash-Milby (Curator at the NMAI), Ann Sewell Johnson (Director of the Arts in Embassies Project), Marjorie Devon (Director of the Tamarind Institute), and especially the other artists. Two people that stand out are the Master Tamarind Printers Brooke Steiger and Bill Lagattuta, who collaborated with the artists to make it nothing less than magnificent.

Established by the United States Department of State in 1964, the Art In Embassies Program is a global museum that exhibits original works of art by U.S. citizens in the public rooms of approximately 180 American diplomatic residences worldwide. These exhibitions, with art loaned from galleries, museums, individual artists, and corporate and private collections, play an important role in our nation's public diplomacy.

The artists provide international audiences with a sense of the quality, scope, and diversity of American art and culture through the accomplishments of some of our most important citizens, our artists.


Anonymous said...

Does this mean you are voting for the Republican candidate next year???

Larry McNeil in Larryland said...

Jill Cooper Udall made this entire project a reality. Her husband is running for the US Senate in NM as a Democrat. This project benefitting Indigenous artists could not have happened without Udall out there advocating very strongly on our behalf. Thank you Jill, we do appreciate it.

It occurred to me that the Dali Lama met with Bush recently, not as a Republican supporter, but as someone who needed to speak to the President of the United States.

From an historical perspective reaching back to the 19th century on to today, whenever our own Tlingit people need to get things done in DC, we make little distinction between republicans or democrats, we need the support of both to get our various issues put forward.

Who are you by the way? Of course I have the option of letting anonomous people post here, but everyone has identified themselves.



PS, On the back window of my car is a large 8"x8" cartoon that asks, "If you vote Republican, does that make you an accomplice to their crimes?"

Jeff said...

Congratulations Larry. I love seeing talented people from Boise let the rest of the country (and the world) know that underneath the "red state" hick reputation that Idaho has...there are real people that aren't just no talent, uninspired republican drones.