Families in Pueblo Pottery: Regenerating Art, Experience, and Practice

2023 Recipient of the College of Arts & Sciences Community-Based Research Initiative

To mark the 50th anniversary of the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology’s groundbreaking exhibit, Seven Families in Pueblo Pottery, an expanded exhibit is being planned for 2025. A wider diversity of Pueblo artists and their art forms will be represented at this special event, bringing representatives from the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico, the Hopi Tribe of Arizona, and Ysleta del Sur Pueblo in Texas to the Maxwell to serve as co-curators of the new exhibit.

To honor this initial project and to broaden our understanding of pottery as an art from grounded in Pueblo ontologies, the important work of documenting pottery in the museum’s collection from all Pueblos in the region has begun in order to safeguard their fundamental histories and artistic knowledge for future generations.

As with the original exhibit, the families’ stories often refer to generational knowledge and practice. But they also address different historical experiences and relationships in pottery making traditions. These artists are selecting the works to be included in the exhibit and accompanying catalogue, narrating their selections and the significance of these works. 

Over 20 artists will make additional visits to the Maxwell Museum in order to finalize their selections of pottery from the museum’s substantial collection. During these visits, their oral histories will be recorded as they go through the process of making their selections and finalizing the exhibit’s themes and content.

The completion of this project will include an exhibit, catalog, and programming welcoming others from these communities to utilize the vast resources that are being enhanced through this collaboration. With the resulting catalog, improved documentation, and established community relationships, the project will live on well beyond the exhibition, benefitting future generations of artists, reinvigorating their values and beliefs in the arts, and furthering the continuity of this artistic practice.

Read more about this project here.