‘Of God and Mortal Men’ Opens at Heard Museum

Colorful works by American artist T.C. Cannon to be shown for the first time in 25 years

The Heard Museum is set to welcome “Of God and Mortal Men: Masterworks by T.C. Cannon” from the Nancy and Richard Bloch Collection. The large-scale exhibition of work by American artist T.C. Cannon (1946-1978) includes paintings not publicly exhibited in 25 years.

The exhibit will be open to the public Oct. 7 through April 15, 2018. Cannon, whose Kiowa name Pai Doung a Day translates to One-Who-Stands-in-the-Sun, was one of the most significant Native American painters of the 20th century.

Cannon had a breakthrough in his art career in the early 1970s, after serving for two years in the Vietnam war. His colorful imagery typically features stylized depictions of American Indians. It reflects a wide range of social, political and cultural influences including the civil rights movement in the United States, new figuration movements in art of the 1970s, film and pop art. The exhibition features work from his mature Santa Fe period and includes a majority of his most iconic paintings including Self Portrait in the Studio, Chief Watching and Grandmother Gestating Father.

T.C. Cannon, Self Portrait in the Studio, 1975, oil on canvas.
From the Nancy and Richard Bloch Collection.
Reproduced by permission of the Estate of T.C. Cannon. 2017 Estate of T.C. Cannon

“The Bloch’s collection represents the finest collection, public or private, of Cannon’s work,” says David M. Roche, Heard Museum director and CEO. “It’s an honor, and a true thrill, to introduce these paintings, many of which haven’t been shown publicly for more than 25 years, to a whole new generation of people.”

Cannon is often referred to as the “James Dean” of the American Indian art world. Like Dean, Cannon was charismatic and gifted. He was also tragically killed at the young age of 31. A primary goal of the exhibit is to bring new attention to an under-recognized artist and make the case for including his work in the broader narrative of American art.

The exhibit will also feature woodblock prints, lithographs and drawings by Cannon. Visitors will be able to page digitally through Cannon’s sketchbook that contains drawings and poems as well as song lyrics. A video remembrance of Cannon from the Colores series by the New Mexico PBS station KNME-TV will accompany the exhibition.

At the same time, two related exhibitions will open at the Heard Museum. “Lines and Codes” traces the history of Plains Indian drawing from which Cannon’s work emerged. And “It’s Your Turn” provides family-friendly activities inspired by the Cannon exhibit suitable for children eight years and up.

 


Of God and Mortal Men: Masterworks by T.C. Cannon 

Oct. 7, 2017 – April 15, 2018

Heard Museum, 2301 N. Central Ave., Phoenix

For more information on the exhibit, visit the heard.org.

 

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