Museum of Indian Arts and Culture

Multi-Venue Celebration of the Life and Art of Innovative Native American Artist and Designer Lloyd Kiva New

January 08, 2016


Year-Long Centennial Celebration of the Prominent Artist

This year is the centennial of the birth of seminal Native American artist Lloyd Kiva New, and three Santa Fe arts institutions are celebrating this anniversary in style. Locally, New, a Cherokee, is known as the Institute of American Indian Art’s (IAIA) first artistic director, yet nationally, Native people refer to him as the "Godfather of Native Fashion."

The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, and the New Mexico Museum of Art will each present an exhibition in 2016 focusing on key aspects of Lloyd Kiva New’s (b. 1916 - d. 2002) significant contributions to contemporary Native culture. Additionally, the three institutions are planning a symposium, multiple lectures, panel discussions, a fashion show, Gala, and, as pure celebration, a 100th birthday party.

For the past two years the museums have worked to honor New’s iconic status with many items on view from their respective holdings, from his widow Aysen New’s collection, and items rarely on public display from important private collections.

The schedule of the three museums’ exhibitions and events is:

Opening first is the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Art’s Lloyd Kiva New: Art, Design, and Influence which draws on three major themes of his legacy, each tied to his innovative concepts in Native art and culturally-based education. Lloyd Kiva New: Art includes paintings by New from his personal collection, completed between 1938-1995, many never before shown in a museum or in a gallery. Lloyd Kiva New: Design presents the artist as an innovator of Native Modernism through fashion and textile design in an interpretive reproduction of the Kiva Studio - New’s successful 1950s showroom in Scottsdale, Arizona. Lloyd Kiva New: Influence features over forty printed textiles created by IAIA students during the 1960s and 1970s under New’s artistic direction - drawn from the permanent collection of the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts. Additionally, patrons will be able to "create" their own designs based on New’s work, through an interactive display created by New Mexico’s leader in interactives, Ideum. Lloyd Kiva New: Art, Design, and Influence hopes to illuminate Lloyd Kiva New’s artistic abilities, his successful fashion career, and profound impact on contemporary Native art.   A "soft" opening for the exhibition is scheduled for January 22, 2016 and it will run through July 31, 2016 - although Lloyd Kiva New: Art will remain open until September 1, 2016.   The official opening of the exhibit and reception will be held on February 18, 2016 on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of New’s birth. Aysen New will co-host the "birthday party" at the museum.

 Museum of Indian Arts and Culture’s career retrospective A New Century: The Life and Legacy of Cherokee Artist and Educator Lloyd "Kiva" New (February 14 through December 30, 2016). A New Century is a mesmerizing look into New’s storied life from his humble beginnings on the family farm in Oklahoma to the burgeoning days at IAIA. In between he strides the decks of the USS Sanborn during World War II and the halls of the Art Institute of Chicago. Opening successive and successful boutiques and craft centers in the gleaming post-war enclave of Scottsdale, Arizona. New was a pioneer in the worlds of fashion, entrepreneurship, and Native art instruction. His vision of cultural studies and creative arts education continues to influence and inspire. Through personal recollections, photos, archival documents, and objects pour la couture, New Century: The Life and Legacy of Cherokee Artist and Educator Lloyd "Kiva" New reviews the life of this American Indian visionary.

The New Mexico Museum of Art’s exhibit Finding a Contemporary Voice: The Legacy of Lloyd Kiva New and IAIA (May 21 through October 10, 2016) showcases artwork by former and present IAIA faculty and alumni demonstrating the contribution these artists have made to the larger field of contemporary art. Taking a Fritz Scholder group portrait of IAIA faculty and the legacy of the institution’s first Art Director Lloyd Kiva New as starting points, this exhibition includes work by IAIA faculty and alumni from the 1960s to the present, such as Scholder, Neil Parsons, T.C. Cannon, Melanie Yazzie, Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie, and Will Wilson. In his teaching, New encouraged looking at innovative techniques and forms as a path to creating contemporary Indian art. Looking at the issues of identity still being raised in contemporary Native American art, it is clear that the artwork of the 1960s and 70s began a conversation that continues to this day.

Additionally, IAIA and MIAC will jointly present a symposium, "The Lloyd Kiva New Centennial Convocation" in October of 2016. The convocation will be an interdisciplinary look at the contemporary Native art movement. Other activities planned include fashion shows, panel discussions, lectures, a Veterans’ Day event, and additional special programming in conjunction with Indian Market in August.

IAIA will also offer a class "Lloyd Kiva New and the Contemporary Native Art Movement" in the Spring 2016 semester, taught by IAIA archivist Ryan Flahive and various guest lecturers. The curriculum will cover a broad range of New’s life and teachings, including sections such as, "The Indian New Deal and The Indian Arts and Crafts Board", "Kiowa Five/The Studio", "The Scottsdale, AZ Years", "The Rockefeller Conference and The Southwest Indian Art Project", and "IAIA 1960-1967".

About Lloyd Kiva New

New earned a degree in art education from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1938. He then taught painting at the Phoenix Indian School until enlisting in the Navy in 1941. Upon returning to Phoenix after World War II, he became a charter member of the Arizona Craftsmen cooperative, a group of artists who helped develop Scottsdale, Arizona, into a western center of handcrafted arts. New took the trade name "Kiva" in 1946, and the Kiva Studio built an affluent clientele and earned national acclaim for his handbags, clothing, and printed textiles throughout the 1950s. In 1962, New changed his career path, and after being hired by superintendent Dr. George Boyce, he joined IAIA, serving first as the school’s Art Director until 1967, then as the school’s president until 1978. In 1988 he returned to serve as Interim President, finally becoming President Emeritus. Additionally, New played key roles in numerous other institutions, including the National Museum of the American Indian, the Heard Museum, and the Buffalo Bill Historic Center.

Although officially retired, New continued to be active in the Native arts community, serving on the Indian Arts and Crafts board, as well as the boards of several national museums, and continued writing and speaking world-wide until his death in 2002. He had a broad, humanistic approach to the arts, stressing creative links to the traditional arts but urging students not to be bound by them and to reject the stereotypical notions of American Indian art and culture.

New encouraged students to look at innovative art techniques and forms as a path to creating contemporary Indian art. He envisioned IAIA artists in a dialog between two cultures, their indigenous heritages and the non-indigenous contemporary mainstream. He asserted that Native artists had a contribution to make to the field of contemporary art. In 1968 New wrote, "Given the opportunity to draw on his own tradition, the Indian artist evolves art forms which are new to the cultural scene, thereby contributing uniquely to the society in general."

This multi-venue celebration of one of Native American arts’ key figures will attract and introduce people from around the world, and throughout New Mexico, to the breadth, depth, and creativity of contemporary Native American art as envisioned by Lloyd Kiva New.


About the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture

As the 19th century closed, one of the Southwest’s major "attractions" was its vibrant Native American cultures. In response to unsystematic collecting by Eastern museums, anthropologist Edgar Lee Hewett founded the Museum of New Mexico in 1909 with a mission to collect and preserve Southwest Native American material culture. Several years later, in 1927, John D. Rockefeller founded the renowned Laboratory of Anthropology with a mission to study the Southwest’s indigenous cultures. In 1947 the two institutions merged, bringing together the most inclusive and systematically acquired collection of New Mexican and Southwestern anthropological artifacts in the country.

About IAIA

For over 50 years, the Institute of American Indian Arts has played a key role in the direction and shape of Native expression. With an internationally acclaimed college, museum, and tribal support resource through the IAIA Land Grant Programs, IAIA is dedicated to the study and advancement of Native arts and cultures and is committed to student achievement and the preservation and progress of their communities. IAIA is accredited by both the Higher Learning Commission and the National Association of Schools of Art & Design. Learn more about IAIA and our mission at

About the New Mexico Museum of Art

Founded in 1917 as the Art Gallery of the Museum of New Mexico, the New Mexico Museum of Art has been presenting innovative arts programming in downtown Santa Fe for close to 100 years. At its founding the museum collected and exhibited artworks by noted artists from New Mexico and elsewhere. This tradition continues today with a wide array of exhibitions and a significant collection featuring work from the world’s leading artists. Today, as at its founding, the New Mexico Museum of Art strives to bring the art of New Mexico to the world and the art of the world to New Mexico.

Both the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture and the New Mexico Museum of Art are divisions of the Department of Cultural Affairs. Museum exhibitions and programs are supported by donors to the Museum of New Mexico Foundation and its Director’s Leadership Fund, Exhibitions Development Fund, and Fund for Museum Education.




Related Photos

Men's sport shirt by Lloyd Kiva New
Dress by Lloyd Kiva New
Orlando Dugi bag
Detail of pattern on Lloyd Kiva New designed textile
Front view of men's sport shirt
Another detail of men's shirt
Detail of men's shirt
Women's purse

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