The Columbia River Plateau has the dubious distinction of being the sole North American culture region whose distinct Indigenous beadwork traditions are popularly identified as being products of outside influences. In this Museum After Hours presentation, Maryhill Museum of Art curator Steven L. Grafe will examine this phenomenon and illustrate the uniqueness of the three main styles of Plateau Native beadwork dating from 1860-1960.

Steven L. Grafe became Curator of Art at Maryhill Museum of Art in 2009. Prior to that, he served as Curator of American Indian Art at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City and Chief Curator at the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles. His publications include Peoples of the Plateau: The Indian Photographs of Lee Moorhouse, 1898-1915, Lanterns on the Prairie: The Blackfeet Photographs of Walter McClintock, and numerous periodical articles about Western history and art. He has been a student of Columbia River Plateau beadwork for almost thirty years.

Photo caption: Unknown Columbia River Plateau artist, Man’s Beaded Vest, c. 1900, glass beads, cloth and thread, 22” x 17”; Museum purchase, Collection of Maryhill Museum of Art