Is it Kitsch? Camp? or Fine Art?
Glimpses of Indian Life
Making it Local
Authenticating the Inauthentic
Secularizing the Sacred
Mixing High and Low
Yearning for the Past

Making it Local
Native artists created regionally specific mementos by transforming well-known generic souvenirs.

Sometimes this process superimposed Indian subject matter on common items, such as cookie jars, neckties, and salt-and-pepper shakers. Other times Native artists made souvenirs with materials used in traditional Native arts—basketry, beading, pottery, and weaving. Ashtrays, animal sculptures, beaded key chains, and candlesticks made from hand-dug clay proliferated along Route 66 during the 1930s.

Cookie Jar The expensive works of Native art found in shops trailing the railroad lines fascinated tourists. Automobile tourists tended to be less affluent, and rarely could afford these pieces, and that stimulated the development of miniature versions of baskets, pottery, and weavings that the travelers-by-car could swing financially.

About Tourist Icons Museum of Indian Arts & Culture | Museum of New Mexico Museum of New Mexico Museum of Indian Arts & Culture
Copyright © 2001 Museum of Indian Arts & Culture/Museum of New Mexico