Native Fashion Now – National Museum of the American Indian

The newly opened Native Fashion Now at the National Museum of the American Indian, formerly the Alexander Hamilton U. S. Customs House, celebrates the innovative talents of Native American designers. Both haute couture and street styles are represented in this exhibition divided into six themes: pushing beyond, wearable art, path breakers, revisitors, activators, and provacateurs.

Before entering the exhibition, I paused to admire the Beaux Arts entry and the Rotunda  exemplifying the importance of New York as a port city and leader of commerce. Cass Gilbert is responsible for the design of the building, vaulted arched ceilings by Raphael Guastavino. The skylight is one of the largest ” free standing” oculi windows in the world. The murals on the ceiling depicting navigation and European explorers were added three decades later by Reginald Marsh for the WPA.

Seventy works of Native concepts of beauty and dress are displayed in a plethora of spacious rooms each with a specific theme.  I especially enjoyed the Convergence section where cultural exchange is quite evident.



Orlando Dugi, Dina [Navajo] headpiece of porcupine quills and his elegant gowns  are largely influenced by his grandmother, YSL, and Valentino
Lightning and Rain handbag [Orlando Dugi}
Denise Wallace [Chugach Aleut]  Craftspeople Belt
Virgil Ortiz [Cochiti Pueblo] collaborated with Donna Karan on her 2003 couture line. She saw his work at Santa Fe’s Indian Market.
Pilar Agoyo  [Ohkay  Owingeh] vinyl gown
Frankie Welch [Cherokee] Betty Ford wore this red, sleek, silk brocade power gown to the White House Christmas Party in 1974. She styled five first ladies and other Washington elite.
Bethany Yellowtail    Apsaalooke  [Crow] Floral Elk tooth dress

Apache skateboards
Medicine hat  Dwayne Wilcox [Oglala & Lakota] (dragonfly on top signifies protection) and Indian Parade Umbrella by Teri Greeves [Kiowa]
scene from the parasol
umbrella handle
Dallin Maybee [Northern Arapaho, and Seneca]
Seneca and Laura Sheppherd  – shantung silk

Margaret Wood [Navajo, Seminole] = reminiscent of a 19th century blanket dress with an update of longer length and bateau neck.
Thomas Haukaas [Sicangu Lakota] this blazer was designed for Thomas’s friend Kenneth Williams  to  wear to a museum exhibition. This is a classic Plains pictorial style.
Marcus Amerman [Choctaw] Lone Ranger and Tonto bracelet
Margaret Roach Wheeler [Chickasaw} The Messanger (the owl) cape and headpiece
Lisa Telford [Haida]  red cedar bark, cordage and faux-leather fringe

Dominique Hanke – tulle and skull
Maria A. Bird [Navajo, Hopi, and Santa Clara Pueblo]
main entry ceiling
tours begin in the entry vestibule

Before you leave be sure and peruse the Ceramica De Los Ancestros, Circle of Dance, and the Infinity of Nations’ 700 masterworks of the Native peoples of North, Central, and South America.

Admission to the museum is free as are the daily tours offered. The piece de resistance is that this world-class museum is open 365 days a year!


Central Park – The North Woods Restoration

Park lovers – the restoration of the North Woods in Central Park is now complete and awaits man and beast! Renewing and sustaining this gorgeous woodland was a priority for the Central Park Conservancy. It included removing sediment accumulation, improving wooden rustic bridges, stone steps, and curved paths. I especially love the new wooden path across The Ravine between two waterfalls.


Offering a taste of the Adirondack Mountains and one of Central Park’s three woodlands, The North Woods have always been a peaceful respite for people and a haven for wildlife.

Two evocative arches are the gateways to this stunning landscape – Glen Span Arch(southern entrance) and Huddlestone Arch (north end). Sauntering through its winding paths, you will encounter snags (fallen trees) which have become “nurse logs” providing homes to animals and nutrients to plants, and a raw beauty to the overall surroundings. Birdwatchers and hikers alike are keen on frequenting this idyllic spot.

Glen Span Arch – the southern gateway to The North Woods Loch and Ravine area was designed by Calvert Vaux utilizing rustic light grey gneiss. Grottos were created in the underpass, with uninterrupted traffic overhead thanks to the genius planning of both Frederick law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux.
view of the grotto and The Loch
Huddlestone Arch, built in 1888, will astound you as you approach it from The Ravine area of The North Woods. Hard to believe gravity and pressure are holding this arch made of boulders of Manhattan Schist in place. No mortar or any other material used in binding was used.

Check out the free guided tours offered and the Woodland Discovery Programs on the Central Park Conservancy (CPC) website.

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Bjorn Skaarup’s Hippo Ballerina takes NYC by storm!

Whether you are a fan of ballet or not, Hippo Ballerina, at Dante Park across from Lincoln Center is sure to catch your eye. After all she is bronze, over fifteen feet tall, and weighs in at two and a half tons!

This is part of an art installation by Danish sculptor, Bjorn Okholm Skaarup, in cooperation with NYC Parks. Known for his bronze sculptures of animals, they appear to take on human qualities. Degas’s Little Dancer Aged Fourteen and Fantasia’s dancing hippos will surely come to mind.


Craving more of this whimsical artist’s creations? Then, pop over to Cavalier Gallery on 3 West 57th Street right around the corner from Van Cleef & Arpels. Bronze Creatures Great and Small from all over the world will greet you on the fourth floor of the gallery. Be sure and take in the collection of colored engraved etchings of cleverly dressed birds in iconic historical settings. My favorite was the Italian Sparrow dressed in a Trojan headpiece perched in front of the Colosseum in Rome.


Italian Sparrow Italy


Redwing, Turkey


Galllic Rooster, France


Giant Ibis, Cambodia 


Hope you get the opportunity to visit Skaarup’s whimsical creatures. They will be on view at Cavalier Gallery through March 17, 2017.