Inside the Peabody Museum: April 2011

Now on View: Contemporary Ledger Drawing Inspired by 19th-Century Plains "Ledger Art"

Riding High Again by Dwayne Wilcox

Dwayne Wilcox, a self-taught Oglala Sioux artist, creates images of contemporary Indian life that are inspired by 19th-century Plains “ledger art.” Like the warriors who drew the images seen in the current exhibition Wiyohpiyata: Lakota Images of the Contested West, Wilcox illustrates stories on sheets of lined paper taken from European documents. Wilcox, however, consciously uses the stylistic markers of “ledger art” to make wry, humorous comments about the hybridity of modern Indian life. In “Riding High Again!” his friends stage a war charge by taking over the mechanical horses on a fair carousel. The drawing is on view in the lobby through April.

See more Dwayne Wilcox ledger drawings on the Peabody Museum's Flickr site.

What's the Next Lobby Display?  It's Your Choice on Facebook

Sago jar

For the first time, the public will select a Peabody Museum display. Everyone may vote for a favorite by "Liking" it on Facebook.

This jar from Papua New Guinea is for storing sago, an edible starch made from sago palms. The jar is one of several contenders for the lobby display now featured in a Facebook photo portfolio. Other choices include pueblo dancer painting, southwestern pottery, a "tree of life" Navajo weaving, a coiled basket from Alaska with seal gut decoration, and the current leader: a vividly painted Makah drum. More information about each object is on the website.

Vote for your favorite on the Peabody Museum Facebook page.

Road Trip

Steven LeBlanc and Paul Lurie

Dr. Steven LeBlanc (left) and Dr. Paul Lurie (right). Photo by Jeffrey Quilter.

Last month, two Museum staffers journeyed to Albany, where collector Paul Lurie, a recently widowed Harvard alumnus (’38) was “down-sizing” his home in preparation for a move to an apartment.

Over the years, Dr. Lurie had assembled a collection of Native American art, with an emphasis on southwestern ceramics. He generously offered it to the Peabody Museum, and after a formal review, Director of Collections Steven LeBlanc and Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs Jeffrey Quilter were invited to retrieve it. So early one morning, Drs. LeBlanc and Quilter found themselves in Dr. Lurie’s 1835 house, alternately admiring, reminiscing, and packing up the collection.

Dr. Lurie was most welcoming to the Peabody staff members and the 4 ½ hours it took to pack more than 200 objects passed quickly. The art works and artifacts will add significantly to the Peabody’s collection of recent and contemporary Native American art especially from the Southwest and Arctic. After a light lunch of cheese and fruit shared by the three, the staffers got the collection safely back to Cambridge where it is currently being entered into the Museum's collection. By Jeffrey Quilter.



Did you miss these lectures? Listen to the audio.

Hallam L. Movius, Jr. Lecture: "The Evolution of Big-Game Hunting: Protein, Fat, or Politics?"  (mp3)

The Living Sign: Maya Hieroglyphs and Vitalized Writing (mp3)

March 29

5:30 pm

Gordon R. Willey Lecture

The Teotihuacan Cosmogram and Polity: Update on the
Sacred City and its Three Monuments

Saburo Sugiyama, Professor, International Cultural Studies, Aichi Prefectural University & School of Human Evolution and Social Change

April 7

5:30 pm

Visible Language Series Lecture

A War of Words: Rethinking Plains Indian "Ledger Art"

Castle McLaughlin, Associate Curator of North American Ethnography, Peabody Museum

April 14

5:30 pm


Excavating the Great Aztec Temple:Achievements and Perspectives

Eduardo Matos Moctezuma, General Coordinator, Great Aztec Temple Project

(in Spanish, with English translation)

April 16

Noon-4:00 pm

School Vacation Discovery Room

Family Fun Saturday School Vacation Discovery Room

Free with Peabody Museum admission.

April 20

5:30 pm

Visible Language Series Lecture

A Brief History of the Spectre of the Internet and the Death of Writing

Matthew Battles, author, Library: An Unquiet History

April 28

5:30 pm

Visible Language Series Lecture

The Preservation and Importance of Inscriptions: 21st-Century Challenges

Barbara Fash, Director, Corpus of Maya Hieroglyphic Inscriptions, Peabody Museum