Reviews

George Morrison Retrospective "Modern Spirit" Takes the Long View at Phoenix's Heard Museum

The Heard Museum long has been a staple for entertaining swarms of holiday visitors intrigued by katsina dolls and turquoise jewelry. But that's a cop-out. There's far more to the landscape of American Indian artwork, as evidenced by the Heard's newest exhibition, "Modern Spirit: The Art of George Morrison." The exhibition, which helps to dispel stereotypes about Native art, highlights 80 works by Minnesota-born Morrison, a 20th-century painter and sculptor affiliated with the abstract expressionism movement.

When the National Museum of the American Indian opened a decade ago in Washington, D.C., its inaugural exhibition was "Native Modernism: The Art of George Morrison and Allan Houser." It's evidence of Morrison's significance in the pantheon of American Indian artists and a reminder that Native art extends beyond pottery and baskets. Still, many who readily recognize works by Houser, including his Earth Song sculpture at the Heard's entrance, don't know a Morrison piece when they see one.

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Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble