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CHF 2014: Journeys

Unpacking the Indian Corner

Terra Foundation Lecture on American Art

Collecting Native American baskets, blankets, and bowls was the fad of the early 20th century. Americans brought these objects home, displaying them in domestic nooks called “Indian corners.” Was this cultural fetishization, or was something else going on? Art historian Elizabeth Hutchinson unpacks the phenomenon and links it to the history of American art.

This annual lecture recognizes a generous multiyear grant from the Terra Foundation for American Art. The Terra Foundation is dedicated to fostering the exploration, understanding, and enjoyment of the visual arts in the United States for national and international audiences. This program is also presented in partnership with The Newberry Library and the Karla Scherer Center for the Study of American Culture at the University of Chicago.

Teachers' Guide

The Chicago Humanities Festival has prepared a teachers' guide for this program. Read the Unpacking the Indian Corner Lesson Plan now!

Image by Annie Dipert

Speakers and Performers

Elizabeth Hutchinson

Elizabeth Hutchinson teaches the history of North American art and visual culture at Barnard College and Columbia University. Her work looks at art as a record of its makers’ and users’ experiences of historical change and intercultural contact or, to put it more simply, it asks how art can help us understand modernity, particularly as it was experienced in the American West.  She is the author of a book, The Indian Craze, and numerous articles and exhibition catalog essays.

CHF Suggests      Related links and resources for further study

Leaders And Thinkers

Elizabeth Hutchinson
Faculty page at Barnard College

Good Reads

Review: The Indian Craze: Primitivism, Modernism, and Transculturation in American Art, 1890–1915

Online Resources

Teaching McKenney and Hall's Sequoyah, by Elizabeth Hutchinson [video]
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