I went in to New York early on Thursday before my Writers Group, to see the Plains Indian art exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum. It was extremely moving– I'm not sure why: their art was not self contained but open (to everyday life? to the changes they were forced to make? And, after all, the Plains Indian horse culture was not an old culture, but only a couple of hundred years old).
Anyhow, all the garments and carving and illustrated buffalo skins were beautiful and determinedly expressive. Some of the later pieces, early 1900's, were just delightful too: a pair of commercial women's canvas shoes with ties and little heels, covered in exquisite bead work. Oh my.
Contemporary artists too, who made collages family pictures in the form of a warrior's shirt, paintings, etc. These things were all thickened for me by my memories of the cradle board exhibit a few years back in Rhode Island and the moccasin exhibit twenty years ago at the Museum of the American Indian: spirally arrange used simple and artful moccasins, all sizes. Recent reading of the half white half Cheyenne warrior leader Quannah Parker.
Also saw wooden statues of warriors and mothers from the border of Nigeria and Cameroon, used to hold drums now gone. Also a quick trip to Northern Renaissance paintings-- famous and splendid Hans Memling couple, Van Eyck crucifixion and Last Judgement.And a beautiful walk through Central Park, with a blue sky and splendid buff apartment buildings on Fifth Avenue.