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September 19, 2014–January 11, 2015

This groundbreaking exhibition will unite the Plains Indian masterworks found in European and North American collections, from pre-contact to contemporary, ranging from a 2,000-year-old Human Effigy stone pipe to 18th-century painted robes to a 2011 beaded adaptation of designer shoes.

The distinct Plains aesthetic—singular, ephemeral and materially rich—will be revealed through an array of forms and media: painting and drawing; sculptural works in stone, wood, antler and shell; porcupine quill and glass bead embroidery; feather work; painted robes depicting figures and geometric shapes; richly ornamented clothing; composite works; and ceremonial objects.

Together the 140 works will reveal the accomplishments of Plains Indian artists, not only as the makers of objects that sustain tradition and embody change, but as the bearers of individual creative expression and innovation. Many nations are represented—Osage, Quapaw, Omaha, Crow, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Lakota, Blackfeet, Pawnee, Kiowa, Comanche, Mesquakie, Kansa and others. Objects will travel from France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Canada and the United States.

The exhibition is being organized by Museé du quai Branly in Paris in collaboration with The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. It is curated by Gaylord Torrence, one of the nation's leading scholars of Plains Indian art and the Fred and Virginia Merrill Senior Curator of American Indian Art at the Nelson-Atkins.

The Plains Indians: Artists of Earth and Sky will be on view at Quai Branly in Paris from April 7 to July 20, 2014, then travel to the Nelson-Atkins from Sept. 19, 2014 to Jan. 11, 2015, then move to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York from March 2 to May 17, 2015.

Learn More

Click Here for a bibliography of resources about the Plains Indians and be sure to visit the Spencer Art Research Library to explore even more.

Gauntlets, Metis-Sioux, AIJ18F Hirschfield Collection

Valise, Nellie Two Bear Gates, AAM24F Hirschfield Collection

T.C. Cannon (Pai-doung-u-day, One Who Stands in the Sun), 1946-1978, Caddo-Kiowa, Oklahoma. Grandmother Gestating Father and the Washita River Runs Ribbon-Like, 1975. Canvas, oil, acrylic, 50 1/2 x 40 3/4 inches. Collection of Nancy and Richard Bloch.

Shield, Arikara artist, North Dakota, ca. 1850. Buffalo rawhide, native tanned leather, pigment, Diameter: 20 inches. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Purchase: the Donald D. Jones Fund for American Indian Art, 2004.35.

Painted Robe, Central Plains, 71.1886.17.1 MQB © Musée du Quai Branly, photo Patrick Gries, Valérie Torre

Contemporary Artists Represented In the Exhibition

Exhibition Tour Dates

The Plains Indians: Artists of Earth and Sky will be on view exclusively at the Nelson-Atkins and these additional venues:

musée du quai Branly
April 7–July 20, 2014

New York
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
March 3–May 10, 2015

Exhibition Publication

Plains Indian Plains Indians: Artists of Earth & Sky
Available in the Museum Store | $65
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