Some of the most exciting and moving American Indian fine art of the 20th and 21st centuries has been created by sculptors. The Heard Museum is fortunate recently to have been given works by leading American Indian sculptors such as Allan Houser and John Hoover Gifts also include sculpture by the next generation of accomplished sculptors inspired by these pioneers, such as Doug Hyde and Bob Haozous, Houser’s son. These will be shown in The Third Dimension: Sculptural Stories in Stone and Bronze.
The majority of the sculptures come from the estate of Ann B. Ritt, who collected sculpture by Houser (Chiricahua Apache) and Hoover, an Unangan (Aleut) artist. Both artists valued stories, honoring their telling and the inspiration that stories gave to their art.
Doug Hyde (Nez Perce/Assiniboine/Chippewa) was a student of Houser’s at IAIA, and a major work by Hyde was donated to the Heard by Phoenix Gateway Center. “The Vigil: Mountains, Valleys, Mesas” is a three-part limestone sculpture created in 1988. Commenting on the work, the artist said that it “celebrates Southwest Native people, their hard work and culture that has survived many challenges.”
Although some of the sculpture was donated in 2011, the Heard was not able to show some of the Hoover and Houser pieces because they needed conservation. The gift of funds from Bank of America’s Art Conservation Project has made it possible to perform this essential conservation work and now to display these three-dimensional stories in all their beauty.