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Heard Museum exhibition in Phoenix celebrates ceramist Maria Martinez

Posted 2/27/24

The Heard Museum is hosting a major new exhibition, “Maria & Modernism,” which is on display now.

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Heard Museum exhibition in Phoenix celebrates ceramist Maria Martinez


The Heard Museum is hosting a major new exhibition, “Maria & Modernism,” which is on display now.

The original exhibition features more than 80 works spanning seven decades by San Ildefonso ceramist Maria Martinez (1887-1980), one of the 20th century’s most celebrated and recognizable women whose work continues to influence new generations of artists.

Modernists reconsidered existing art forms and their ideas radically changed art, design, and architecture in the first half of the 20th century, according to a Heard Museum press release. Through experimentation with traditional Pueblo ceramic production and design, Martinez transformed the black-ware vessel of her ancestors.

She was so renowned in her lifetime that she met U.S. presidents, movie stars, scientists and fellow artists including Georgia O’Keeffe.

“This exhibition is the first to exclusively focus on Maria Martinez’s overlooked contributions to Modernism, the most important artistic movement of the 20th century,” David M. Roche, Dickey Family Director and Heard Museum CEO, stated. “Visitors will see masterpieces of Martinez’s work that we have gathered from collections around the United States including The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.”

From the time Martinez began producing her innovative black-on-black ware, her pottery was sought after by major artists, collectors, and thought leaders. Her sleek, black, sculptural vessels could fit into any modern 20th-century home, and often did.

Generations of the John D. Rockefeller Jr. family, perhaps the 20th century’s most influential collectors of modern art, collected Martinez’s work. Other 20th-century influencers who collected her work included the photographer Ansel Adams and the Manhattan Project scientists Drs. Robert Brode and Enrico Fermi.

Examples of Martinez’s work from these collectors will be on view in the Virgina G. Piper Charitable Trust Grand Gallery at the Heard Museum, which is located at 2301 N. Central Ave., in Phoenix.

The exhibition will be open through July 28.

Visit https://heard.org.