Thursday October 4, 2012

'Rethink' blends the work of contemporary American Indian artists with elements from the Berkshire Museum's collection to show the range of the artists' work and their lives -- from Teri Greeves' beaded tapestries, and the stories from her Kiowa Comanche people, her grandmother, her mother and her own life that have inspired them, to Diego Romero's comic-book-style confrontations between Cochiti Pueblo warriors and conquistadors.

"We're saying these objects are art," Mingalone said. "That's the point of the exhibition: These objects are not artifacts; they are a living presence."

"(Passemaquoddy basket weaver) Jeremy Frey inspired a fine art connection," she said.He talked about the silouette of a basket, the line of it, curving like the figure of a woman. So she and co-curator Margaret Archuleta thought to bring in art from other traditions that may inspire these artists, and that they may have inspired.

Greeves will return in November to teach beadwork, and Mingalone looks forward to talking with her again.

"She's down to earth and real," Mingalone said in admiration of Greeves' work. "She lives it; she knows the material and has grown up with it, as her personal and cultural heritage."

Putting this show together has given Mingalone deep respect for the artists, and she hopes more will come back to teach. She feels they can explain and teach their own work in ways a museum show will not always reach.


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"It's the difference between talking in the first and third person," she said.