April 8, 2014 – April 1, 2016
This exhibit features nearly 100 pieces of top-quality southwest pottery from the Nancy and Alan Cameros Collection. The exhibit, prominently displayed in custom, purpose-built mahogany casework, is a special collaboration that builds on the decade-long relationship between The Rockwell Museum and the Cameros family. In this spirit, the exhibit prominently features two recent purchases made jointly by Mr. Cameros and The Rockwell Museum. The first, Long Neck Jar with Carved Avanyu made by Margaret Tafoya, is traditional in its form but innovative in its large size and deeply carved design. The second, Set of 20 Miniature Graduated Sgraffito Pots by Joseph Lonewolf, is one of only three complete intact sets of miniature pots produced by the master of miniature pottery.
The display features historic works by Maria Martinez and other famous matriarchs of pottery as well as works by some of the most talented Indian artists working in the southwest today. These are vessels born of Native earth, crafted in fire, and displayed for both their historic importance as well as their artistic beauty. Interactive touch screens allow visitors to learn more about the history, craftsmanship, and artistry of these vessels.
The display explores three major themes. The first theme, The Great Mothers, looks at the rebirth of Native pottery in the southwest. This theme sets the stage for the explosion of skillfully crafted pottery that follows in the 20th and 21st century. The second theme, Keepers of Tradition, details those potters whose works are informed by those who have come before. The Keepers of Tradition care for, and pass on, important stories about Native cultures, and serve as sign posts for the generations that follow. The third theme, Artists Without Reservation, explores those artist who build on tradition but are not bound by it. It is their tie to a 2,000 year tradition that grounds these artists, and makes their pots so intriguing.
The On Fire! Exhibition at The Rockwell Museum features interactive touch screens to learn more about the history, craftsmanship, and artistry of these vessels. This unique, interactive gallery enhancement blends art, technology and interpretation to inspire visitors to explore the pottery installation.
For each of the six cases featured in the custom, purpose-built mahogany cabinets, the interactive touchscreen application features a unique screen for each case. Within each screen, visitors can easily navigate from individual piece to the next. Intuitive navigation allows for a seamless visitor experience.
Innovative user-interface design and cutting-edge software was used in the development of this digital experience. This application is also available here: http://pottery.rockwellmuseum.org/
For over 25 years, Rochester, New York’s Nancy and Alan Cameros researched and collected exceptional American Indian pottery by the finest contemporary and historical artists of the Southwest. The collection has grown to over 200 works of art.
The Cameroses began collecting in the early 1980s when Alan’s position as chairman of the Museum Trustee Association took him to Santa Fe to scout the location for the association’s national conference. Already glass enthusiasts and collectors, they eagerly purchased what Nancy calls “a pretty souvenir”. Though this initial pot was mass-produced for tourists, it inspired an enduring interest in the craft and culture of the Southwest.
During years of annual excursions, Nancy and Alan acquired museum-quality pottery, while simultaneously forming lifelong friendships with the artists. From early works by famed matriarchs of the craft to cutting-edge pottery by its most contemporary disciples, the collection is a testament to both the creativity of generations of potters and to the impeccable taste and passion of its collectors. It truly is a collection that has been crafted to perfection.
Regrettably, in September 2010, arts patron and collector, Nancy Cameros, passed away. Perhaps Nancy’s proudest accomplishment was assembling with her husband a nationally renowned collection of Southwestern pottery. Alan Cameros continues service as a Museum Trustee and patron of The Rockwell Museum in Corning, New York.
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