Native Fashion Now, Peabody Essex Museum
The 2016 Richard Martin Exhibition Award was given to the Peabody Essex Museum for their exhibition Native Fashion Now. This highly original exhibition presents the confluence of identity, art, and personal expression in contemporary Native fashion in all its complexity. Here we hear from the curator, Karen Kramer.
How did you first learn about CSA and the Richard Martin Exhibition Award?
PEM’s then-newly minted assistant curator Shoshana Resnikoff brought this to my attention. One of her first project assignments at PEM was Native Fashion Now. Shoshana has been a member of CSA and recommended we submit an application. We jumped at the chance!
You were able to attend the Annual Meeting and Symposium in Cleveland to accept the award. How was your experience at the conference?
It was a very positive experience. This was my first time attending and I found the membership to be nothing short of extremely warm and inviting, and the panels and papers diverse in scope.
Have there been long-term effects or benefits as a result of the award?
The Peabody Essex Museum, including our membership, is so proud to be the recipients of the Richard Martin Exhibition Award. All of the Native designers and artists in Native Fashion Now are extremely gratified, as well. The award recognizes the very active, creative cultural explosion that is contemporary Native fashion, and in a world that continues marginalize Native people and subsequently, their creative expressions, this award is not insignificant. We will continue to see the benefits of this award for the foreseeable future, no doubt.
Can you update us on the exhibit and the other museums that have hosted it?
Following its debut in Salem, the Portland Art Museum in Oregon hosted Native Fashion Now June-September 2016, and it is currently on view at the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa through early 2017. The last stop of the show’s tour will be at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian in New York February 17, 2017 through September 4, 2017. To have this kind of presence in major cities, including New York, one of the top global fashion capitals of the world, is unprecedented and extremely exciting for everyone involved in the project. Audiences in each city thus far have been very receptive to the show, and I hope CSA membership will have a chance to see it. I am looking forward to sharing more about the exhibition with you all in Portland, Maine.
The deadline for the 2017 Richard Martin Award is December 15, 2016. More information is available here.