When Fritz Scholder came to New Mexico in the 1960s, he sword he’d never paint the Indian. When he got there, and saw the condition of the state of Indian art, he changed his mind. A quarter Luiseño, he was invited to join the Rockefeller Southwest Indian Art Project, and would eventually join the faculty at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Scholder’s work would cross all manner of boundaries.
The exhibit at NMAI that opens on Friday is nothing short incredible. The color palette alone should get you out there. Scholder’s palette ranges from day-glo pink to earthen brown and meets in the middle with some incredible combinations. “Red No. 5” pictured above is one of his later pieces, part of his second Indian phase. His works seek to show the reality of the Indian life in the US, from alcoholism to a distorted self-image, Scholder hasn’t found a taboo that he won’t delve into.