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Couse-Sharp Historic Site Morning Lecture at the Harwood and Afternoon Open House with Exhibitions

Native pictography the focus of visiting lecturer
Couse Foundation sponsors eminent scholar Christina Burke at the Harwood

On Aug. 5, the Couse Foundation in conjunction with the Harwood Museum of Art presents thelecture A Pictograph is Worth A Thousand Words: Reading Native Pictographs by Christina E. Burke, curator of Native American and Non-Western Art at the Philbrook Museum of Art.

For thousands of years, Native people of the Plains and Plateau painted images on hide clothing andother objects to record and remember stories of brave deeds and unusual events. Translating andunderstanding this narrative visual language provides insight into Native culture from Nativeperspectives. Featuring a Plateau shirt in the collection of the Couse-Sharp Historic Site, Burke’spresentation will explore the pictorial tradition of recording indigenous history.

The lecture will begin at 10 a.m. in the Harwood Museum at 238 Ledoux Street in Taos. Tickets are available in person at the museum gift shop or by calling 575-758-9826.

“The Couse Foundation is thrilled to bring Ms. Burke to Taos,” said Davison Koenig, Couse-SharpHistoric Site executive director and curator. “She’s the perfect person to place our collection ofpictorial artifacts in context. For more than 20 years, she has studied Plains pictography, whichranges from historical drawings on cloth or hide, like our Plateau shirt, to contemporary forms onpaper and canvas.

”Burke’s particular interest in images of the past is their cultural context and connection to oraltraditions detailing ceremonial activities, historical events, and individuals’ brave deeds in battle andon the hunt. Her work on pictorial tribal histories known as “winter counts” was featured in anonline Smithsonian exhibition last year and the 2007 publication The Year the Stars Fell: LakotaWinter Counts.

Those interested in the lecture can see further examples of Native artistry and multicultural contextat the Couse-Sharp Historic Site “first Saturday” open house, which will run from 3-5 p.m. the sameday. Two exhibitions are on display currently, as well as the Couse Home and Studio with itscollections in situ, at 146 Kit Carson Road in Taos.

Christina E. Burke, 
curator of Native American and 
Non-Western Art at the Philbrook 
Museum of Art in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Each exhibit in Seldom Seen: Archival Stories features archival materials that put a work of art in context. For example, the oil on canvas Sunlight/Sunshine by E. I. Couse is accompanied by items such as clothing worn by the model, a compositional sketch, a gridded photo study, and records of the finished painting’s sales and exhibitions.

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