Exhibitions

KATSINA/kachina: Tradition, Appropriation, Innovation

August 4, 2002 to March 23, 2003

“Exemplary in its sensitivity to meaning’s promiscuity and the gray areas between authenticity and fraudulence. Its poignancy resides in how effectively it catches viewers in the cross-fire between a venerable tradition and voracious consumerism.”
Los Angeles Times, February 2003

This exhibition explored the representations of benevolent Katsina spirits integral to Hopi belief, and their commodification. At the center of this narrative are the carved dolls (erroneously termed “kachina” by outsiders) that are given to babies and young girls. Objects on display included fine early Katsina figures, works by Hopi and non-Hopi artists, mass-produced tourist items, and other commercial appropriations found across the Southwestern landscape. This extraordinary range of objects raised questions about issues of tradition, commodification, authenticity, intellectual property, and freedom of expression.