First American Art: The Charles and Valerie Diker Collection of American Indian Art

April 24, 2004–May 29, 2006
New York, NY

In First American Art: The Charles and Valerie Diker Collection of American Indian Art, the National Museum of the American Indian is privileged to explore the powerful aesthetic traditions of Native Americans through the extraordinary collection of New Yorkers Charles and Valerie Diker. This exhibition is the collaborative product of a group of Native and non-Native artists, art historians, critics, writers, and anthropologists from NMAI and across North America who gathered to discuss a new paradigm for the articulation of Native American art.

Exhibition curators Bruce Bernstein and Gerald McMaster (Plains Cree and member of the Siksika Nation) describe the group's development of the exhibition in this way: "Through our conversations, we arrived at seven principles that guided us in appreciating the breathtaking range of beautiful objects in the Dikers' collection: idea, emotion, intimacy, movement, integrity, vocabulary, and composition. Instead of organizing this exhibition around artistic regions or object type, we used these seven principles to guide our curatorial vision. We hope they will help visitors to understand these objects as true works of art as well as significant cultural objects."