Infinity of Nations: Art and History in the Collections of the National Museum of the American Indian

Ongoing
New York, NY

This spectacular, permanent exhibition of some 700 works of Native art from throughout North, Central, and South America demonstrates the breadth of the museum's renowned collection and highlights the historic importance of many of these iconic objects.

Chosen to illustrate the geographic and chronological scope of the museum's collection, Infinity of Nations opens with a display of headdresses. Signifying the sovereignty of Native nations, these works include a magnificent Kayapó krok-krok-ti, a macaw-and-heron-feather ceremonial headdress.

Focal-point objects, representing each region, include an Apsáalooke (Crow) robe illustrated with warriors' exploits; a detailed Mayan limestone bas relief depicting a ball player; an elaborately beaded Inuit tuilli, or woman's inner parka, made for the mother of a newborn baby; a Mapuche kultrung, or hand drum, depicting the cosmos; a carved and painted chief's headdress, depicting a killer whale with a raven emerging from its back, created and worn by Willie Seaweed (Kwakwaka'wakw); an anthropomorphic Shipibo joni chomo, or water vessel from Peru; a Chumash basket decorated with a Spanish-coin motif; an ancient mortar from Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon, N.M.; a gourd carved with a detailed picture of the Battle of Arica by Mariano Flores Kananga (Quechua); and an early Anishinaabe man's outfit complete with headdress, leggings, shirt, sash, and jewelry. The exhibition concludes with works by Native artists including Allan Houser (Warm Springs Chiricahua Apache) and Rick Bartow (Mad River Wiyot).

Muisca clay head (detail), Colombia, A.D. 1200–1600. Clay, paint. (23/920)

Muisca clay head (detail), Colombia, A.D. 1200–1600. Clay, paint. (23/920)

Muisca clay head, Colombia, A.D. 1200–1600. Clay, paint. (23/920)

Muisca clay head, Colombia, A.D. 1200–1600. Clay, paint. (23/920)

Muisca clay head, Colombia, A.D. 1200–1600. Clay, paint. (23/920)
Designed for students and teachers, the Infinity of Nations Culture Quest website explores content from the exhibition Infinity of Nations: Art and History in the Collections of the National Museum of the American Indian. The site includes a gallery, where students can explore 25 works of art such as headdresses, significant cultural objects, and contemporary art; the Culture Quest, which features interactive segments focused on ten objects; and Meet the Artist, which introduces students to five Native American artists and their modern creations.
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A gorgeous, fully illustrated official companion volume to Infinity of Nations, the National Museum of the American Indian's most ambitious and comprehensive exhibition to date. Following an introduction on the power of objects to engage our imagination, each chapter presents an overview of a region of the Americas and its cultural complexities, written by a noted specialist in that region.
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