Heard Museum restores 8 iconic sculptures by Indian artists

Bank of America today announced that it is awarding the Heard Museum funding to restore eight iconic sculptures by notable American Indian artists through the bank’s 2015 global Art Conservation Project.

Funding will restore the natural limestone patina to "Navajo Water Girl," a donation of Doug Hyde (Nez Perce/Assiniboine/Chippewa, b. 1946) that has never been exhibited at the Heard.

Funding will restore the natural limestone patina to “Navajo Water Girl,” a donation of Doug Hyde that has never been exhibited at the Heard.

Since the program’s inception in 2010, Bank of America has provided grants to museums in 28 countries supporting 85 conservation projects.

In each of the works being restored at the Heard Museum, the sculptor presents a contemporary vision of his ancestral culture, giving the viewer new perspectives on American art.

The conservation, on view to the public as the process unfolds, will create new opportunities for the museum as well as an educational venue for members and visitors.

Among the sculptures exhibited on the museum grounds to be restored are two by Chiricahua Apache artist Allan Houser (1914-1994), considered the patriarch of American Indian sculptors, Earth Song, composed of Alabama marble, and the bronze Seeking Harmony; three bronze pieces by Aleut artist John Hoover (1919-2011), Crane Woman, Heron and Turtle and Aleut Dance Staff; and two by Chiricahua Apache Bob Haozous (b. 1943), Zen Bear, of oxidized steel, and White Steele out of carved marble.

In addition, funding will restore the natural limestone patina to Navajo Water Girl, a donation of Doug Hyde (Nez Perce/Assiniboine/Chippewa, b. 1946) that has never been exhibited at the Heard because the original owner had the piece outdoors where city pollution resulted in grime and discoloration.

Navajo Water Girl measures 66.5 inches by 24 inches by 27 inches. Hyde, who studied with Houser at his Santa Fe studio, is known for his monumental-sized sculptures which portray historical events.

“The eight sculptures being restored through this remarkable conservation project are iconic, reflecting important cultural traditions,” said Heard Museum Interim Director and CEO John R. Bulla.

“We are deeply grateful to Bank of America for ensuring that generations of families both in and outside Arizona will be able to appreciate the historic, cultural and educational significance of these pieces.”

Chiricahua Apache Bob Haozous's "Zen Bear."

Chiricahua Apache Bob Haozous’s “Zen Bear.”

“Our Art Conservation Project is designed not only to conserve artworks and shine a light on the need for the preservation of artistic and historic treasures, but also to educate communities, and convey respect for the varied cultures and traditions throughout the world,” said Bank of America Arizona Market President Benito Almanza.

The 2015 Art Conservation Project supports the restoration of a diverse range of works including the marble figure of the Buddha Amitābha at the British Museum in London; an oil on canvas, The Mellow Pad, by American artist Stuart Davis (1982-1964 at the Brooklyn Museum in New York; Édouard Manet’s Women in Evening Dress (Femme en robe de scarlet) at New York’s Guggenheim Museum; four paintings in original frames at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center in Hartford, Conn., including two by Stowe; and Vincent van Gogh’s Enclosed Field with Ploughman at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Additional projects will take place at the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar; OCA Museum in São Paulo, Brazil; and the University Art Museum, Tokyo University of Arts, among others.


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