This exhibit is a fascinating case study in how cultures develop; how art, culture and community are interwoven; and how art is created, interpreted, valued, bought and sold.
Located along the central Rio Grande Valley in New Mexico and separated by that great river, Cochiti and Santo Domingo Pueblos shared a ceramic tradition for centuries until increasing contact with outsiders ushered in tumultuous changes that set the pueblos on divergent paths. Cochiti Pueblo more freely modified its traditional forms of painted pottery to appeal to new markets while the Santo Domingo Pueblo shunned the influences of the tourist trade and art market, continuing an artistic tradition that was conservative and insular.
A River Apart: the Pottery of Cochiti and Santo Domingo Pueblos, examines the pottery traditions of the two Pueblos to decipher what discoveries can be made and identities established through these representations of material culture. As the collection reveals, the pottery represents more than anthropological artifacts or art for the marketplace. From this exhibit we learn much about the Pueblos’ history, myths and legends, communities, and the various artists’ responses to influences from the outside world.