When Carl Gorman was asked to come to UC Davis by Professor Jack Forbes in 1969, he joined David Risling Jr. in the new Native American Studies program that was being developed out of a two-story former army barracks on the campus known as the Tecumseh Center. On the ground floor were three offices and a large student room with a kitchen and Carl’s workshop was upstairs.
His first course in Winter 1970 was “Indian Art in Cultural Perspective, with Workshop” and at the Tecumseh Center, he gathered a few Native American artifacts and set them up in a room. As interest grew, more pieces were brought in, loaned, and donated by students, faculty, and friends. The collections rapidly grew and as they began to occupy more space Gorman’s name appeared on the door and students began referring to it as his museum.
After a four year-long hiatus from painting, the students and his experiences at UC Davis inspired Gorman to resume painting. The rock art painting of the Southern California Chumash recalled memories of his youth which he depicted alongside California Indian designs and basketry. Upon his retirement from UCD in 1973, the museum was officially dedicated as the Carl Nelson Gorman Museum. Over two hundred faculty members, students, and close friends came as invited guests to the dinner celebrating the new museum where he was given credit by David Risling “for helping to build one of the best (Native American) programs of its kind in the nation.” (Greenberg, 1996)
For forty years, the C.N. Gorman Museum has continued Gorman’s vision of bringing Native American and Indigenous art and artists to the UC Davis campus, sharing with our audiences of students, staff, faculty and regional communities the rich and diverse canon of contemporary Native American art. An important role in the museum’s mission is the development and care of the Permanent Collections which have continued to grow in size and breadth over the decades.
This exhibition is curated from the collections with an emphasis on the works of Carl Gorman and his son, R.C. Gorman and is shown alongside works by other Navajo artists. Half of the exhibition features works that are new acquisitions since 2007, including several from the past year. Such exhibitions are made possible through the generous donations of artwork and support of our museum patrons, sponsors and members.
July 8 -
R.C. Gorman, Three Women, 1985
Gift of Michael and Julie Perea (2012)
This exhibition is made possible through the generous donations
Recent acquisitions include:
Jacquelyn Kammerer Cattaneo
Carl Nelson Gorman (Kin-ya-onny-beyeh)
Alfred Kee Gorman (Navajo)
Rudolph Carl Gorman (Navajo)
Lee Marmon (Laguna Pueblo)
Thomas Greyeyes (Navajo)
Rowan Harrison (Navajo/Isleta)
Melanie Yazzie (Navajo)