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South Dakota’s Sioux Horse Effigy to be Included in International Traveling Exhibition Opening April 7 in Paris


CONTACT: Jeff Mammenga, Media Coordinator, (605) 773-6000. Jeff.Mammenga@state.sd.us                     


South Dakota’s Sioux Horse Effigy to be Included in International Traveling Exhibition Opening April 7 in Paris


PIERRE, S.D. -- South Dakota’s own Sioux Horse Effigy, an artifact from the collection of the Museum of the South Dakota State Historical Society at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre, will be on display in a groundbreaking exhibition of Plains Indian masterworks, “The Plains Indians: Artists of Earth and Sky.”


The new traveling exhibition opens in Paris at musée du quai Branly on April 7. It was organized by quai Branly in partnership with the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City and in collaboration with The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. It is curated by Gaylord Torrence, one of the nation’s leading scholars of Plains Indian art and the Fred and Virginia Merrill Senior Curator of American Indian Art at the Nelson-Atkins Museum.


“The Plains Indians” will be on view at quai Branly until July 20, then travel to the Nelson-Atkins from Sept. 19 to Jan. 11, 2015. The show culminates at the Metropolitan Museum from March 2 to May 10, 2015.


“To have one of our prized artifacts included in an exhibit of this magnitude is a great opportunity for us to call attention to our amazing collection while generating interest in the state of South Dakota,” commented Jay Smith, director of the Museum of the State Historical Society. “This magnificent artifact, which also serves as the logo of our organization, will be seen by approximately one million people over the next 14 months.”  


The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated 320-page catalogue, with essays by leading experts, under the direction of Torrence. The catalog will be on sale at the Cultural Heritage Center in a few weeks.


The travels of the Sioux Horse Effigy, as well as photos and information about the exhibit locations, are on display in a small exhibit about the effigy at the Cultural Heritage Center.  


“We plan to have a new display about our effigy in the fall of 2015,” commented Jay D. Vogt, director of the South Dakota State Historical Society. “In the meantime, we are excited about the audience that will see our artifact and the attention it will bring to the South Dakota State Historical Society.”  


Stéphane Martin, president of quai Branly, traveled to the United States in 2010 to explore his idea for an exhibition on the art of the Plains Indians. On his tour, he visited the new and highly acclaimed American Indian galleries at the Nelson-Atkins and invited Torrence to curate the Plains show at quai Branly.


Festivities surrounding the opening of the exhibit in Paris celebrate the Nelson-Atkins stature in the field of Native American Art and Torrence’s scholarship in the area of Plains Indian art, as well as his deep ties of many years to the Native American community. 


“This exhibition captures the beauty and spiritual resonance of Plains Indian art,” said Torrence. “The objects embody both the creative brilliance of their individual makers and the meanings and power of profound cultural traditions.”


More than 130 works of art from 57 European, Canadian and American institutions and private collections will be displayed in an unprecedented continuum from pre-contact with Europeans to the present-day. Featured works include numbers of the great early Plains Indian robes, and other masterworks collected in the 18th century by European explorers and taken back to the continent never to return to America until now.




About the South Dakota State Historical Society

The South Dakota State Historical Society is a division of the Department of Tourism. The Department of Tourism is comprised of Tourism, the South Dakota Arts Council and the State Historical Society. The Department is led by Secretary James D. Hagen. The State Historical Society, an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is headquartered at the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre. The center houses the society’s world-class museum, the archives, and the historic preservation, publishing and administrative/development offices. Call (605) 773-3458 or visit www.history.sd.gov for more information. The society also has an archaeology office in Rapid City; call (605) 394-1936 for more information.  


About the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The Nelson-Atkins in Kansas City is recognized nationally and internationally as one of America’s finest art museums. The Nelson-Atkins serves the community by providing access and insight into its renowned collection of more than 33,500 art objects and is best known for its Asian art, European and American paintings, photography, modern sculpture, and new American Indian and Egyptian galleries. Housing a major art research library and the Ford Learning Center, the museum is a key educational resource for the region. The institution-wide transformation of the Nelson-Atkins has included the 165,000-square-foot Bloch Building expansion and renovation of the original 1933 Nelson-Atkins Building.