Thursday, March 26, 2009

Beacon Lights

By: John Buchinger, Associate Director of Education
Working at an art museum, I see amazing things every day, and sometimes I only realize how special they are when someone else points them out. Though all of our pieces could be celebrated in this post, one object in particular shines above the others.

The Beacon Lights basket, a Washoe basket by famed Native artist Louisa Keyser, has been selected to be a part of the National Endowment for the Humanities’ newest initiative of its We the People program Picturing America. The basket is made out of willow, western redbud, and bracken fern root, and is the most historically significant basket of Keyser’s career and the one most widely referred to in publications on this famed Washoe weaver. Keyser’s mastery of the medium is revealed in the control of the extremely fine stitches of weaving and the elegant balance of her design as it moves over a constantly changing surface. Beacon Lights epitomizes Louisa Keyser’s greatest work.

Picturing America was launched in February 2007. This program distributes large, high quality reproductions of selected works of American art, along with a teacher resource book, lesson plans, and materials, to K-12 schools and public libraries.

We were incredibly thrilled to hear that not only Beacon Lights, but also our Black Hawk Sans Arc Lakota Ledger Book were both selected to be a part of this fantastic art education program. It calls national attention to our collections and shares our greatest hidden treasures with audiences across the country.

Beacon Lights, by Louisa Keyser (ca.1850-1925). Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, NY. Gift of Eugene Victor Thaw Art Foundation. T0751

1 comment:

Paul D'Ambrosio said...

I said this on our Facebook page but I'll restate it here: This is an unparalleled masterpiece and will someday be rightly regarded as one of the greatest works of art produced on the North American continent. We're thrilled that it was one of only 40 items chosen by the NEH to represent the entire history of American art. Of course these issues can be endlessly debated!

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