Museum of New Mexico Media Center Press Release

A River Apart: The Pottery of Cochiti and Santo Domingo Pueblos

Museum of Indian Arts and Culture

January 01, 2011


Pottery of Cochiti and Santo Domingo Pueblos

Two Pueblos, a river apart. Two responses to outside influences.

Santa Fe, NM -A River Apart: The Pottery of Cochiti and Santo Domingo Pueblos, opens at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture on October 19, 2008 running through September 26, 2011. A River Apart: The Pottery of Cochiti and Santo Domingo Pueblos presents ceramic masterpieces of both Cochiti and Santo Domingo Pueblos.

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 created when the railroads started bringing in tourists from the East in 1898, 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 through the medium of the museum’s collections. To decipher what discoveries can be made and identities established through the nearly 250 pieces in the exhibition, visitors are provided with a choice of viewpoints: art historical, anthropological, curatorial, and artistic. This multi-vocal approach reveals that the pottery represents more than anthropological artifacts or art for the marketplace. From A River Apart: The Pottery of Cochiti and Santo Domingo Pueblos we learn much about the Pueblos’ history, communities, and the various artists’ responses to influences from the outside world.

An often-repeated story told by former curator of ethnology Edmund Ladd, which he swore was true, illustrates the profound, and yet commonly held misunderstanding of America’s indigenous populations. Tourists, returning from a visit to the several northern New Mexico Pueblos, were convinced that the Museum peopled the villages as a living exhibit. “They don’t really live there, do they?” the tourists asked.

To combat this widely accepted and romanticized view of Indian people as mysterious past occupants of abandoned ruins, this exhibit presents the cultures of Cochiti and Santo Domingo, expressed through their individual pottery traditions, as the dynamic and living people they are today.

Exhibition curator for A River Apart: The Pottery of Cochiti and Santo Domingo Pueblos, Valerie Verzuh said; “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.”

Media Contacts:

Valerie Verzuh, Exhibit Curator


Steve Cantrell, PR Manager


505-310-3539 – cell




NOTE: Beginning Memorial Day through Labor Day the Museum will also be open on Monday at regular hours

Located on Museum Hill™, the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture shares the beautiful Milner Plaza with the Museum of International Folk Art. Here, Now and Always, a major permanent exhibition at the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, combines the voices of living Native Americans with ancient and contemporary artifacts and interactive multimedia to tell the complex stories of the Southwest. The Buchsbaum Gallery displays ceramics from the region’s pueblos. Five changing galleries present exhibits on subjects ranging from archaeological excavations to contemporary art. In addition, an outdoor sculpture garden offers rotating exhibits of works by Native American sculptors.

The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture is a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs.

Information for the Public

Location: The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture is located on Museum Hill™, Camino Lejo off Old Santa Fe Trail.

Information: 505-476-1269 or visit

Days/Times: Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Admission: School groups free. Children 16 and under free. New Mexico residents with ID free on Sundays. New Mexico resident Senior Citizens (age 60+) with ID free Wednesdays. Museum Foundation members free. NM Veterans with 50% or more disability free. Students with ID $1 discount. Single visit to one museum: $8.00 for non-state residents; $6.00 for New Mexico residents. Four-day pass to five museums including state-run museums in Santa Fe plus The Museum of Spanish Colonial Art $18.00. One-day pass for two museums (Museum of International Folk Art and Museum of Indian Arts and Culture OR New Mexico Museum of Art and Palace of the Governors) $12.00. Group rate for ten or more people: single visit $6.00, four day pass $16.00.





















Back to Press Release Details