Allan Houser Time Line

Alan Houser

 

from Allan Houser by Barbara H. Perlman

...The Gallery Wall, Inc., is now doing business as Glenn Green Galleries, Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Scottsdale, Arizona. Glenn Green Galleries was the exclusive international agent for Allan Houser.

...1979 The Gallery Wall, Inc., became the exclusive representative for Houser's work.

...Houser had met Glenn and Sandra Green during the late 1960s, shortly after the opening of their new showcase for contemporary Southwestern art, The Gallery Wall, Inc., in Phoenix in 1966. "Allan had just started working in bronze when we met him," Glenn recalls. "By the seventies he was working part of the time at Nambé and Shidoni foundries, supervising the casting of his work, then driving out to the studio he shared with his son, Bob Haozous, and also doing quite a bit of painting and drawing all this in addition to teaching at IAIA." From then on, Houser sent occasional sculpture and paintings to The Gallery Wall, and invited the Greens to visit his classes at the Institute. "It was obvious that Allan was respected and loved by the students and other teachers," Glenn states. "He was excited to introduce us to his students and their work. We noticed that other artists besides Indians came to his classes to get critiques. Allan had a very warm greeting for everyone. He took us in like family, and this chance to get to know him better deepened our impression that here was a truly gifted, unusual man." Houser was one of three sculptor teachers invited with five of their students to take part in the "Human Form" exhibition organized in Phoenix by The Gallery Wall in 1974. He chose two IAIA students, Karen Swan and Annamae One Star, to show their work with his.

...As the Houser Gallery Wall attachment strengthened steadily, the Greens, who also represented the promising young Hopi Tewa artist Dan Namingha, had grown intensely aware of "the many layers of complex art forms involved in Hopi, Rio Grande Pueblo, and Plains ceremonials." They made frequent trips to Hopi settlements in northern Arizona and to Pueblo villages outside Santa Fe. Encouraged by The Gallery Wall's success in presenting his work to art patrons, Houser began to talk about retiring from teaching. At that point, he was assured by the Greens of the gallery's wholehearted support for whatever directions he might choose to explore. Given this pledge, and basing his decision also on the growing demand for his work, Houser stepped down in 1975 as the head of the sculpture department at the Institute of American Indian Arts. His retirement marked the end of a distinguished career as an educator and artist-in-residence, and the beginning of a brilliant new chapter in his creative life.

...Shortly after his return from the East Coast, Houser assigned exclusive representation rights for his work to Glenn and Sandra Green of The Gallery Wall, Inc. The decision provided him with full latitude to pursue his creative hypotheses. According to Glenn Green, "Our purpose was to free Allan so that he could concentrate full time on his sculpture. Before retiring, he had spent a lot of hours on his work at the studio after teaching and on weekends, really putting in a double shift. After he left teaching, he was still finding that routine business details were consuming a great deal of his time. We offered him complete freedom to pursue his sculpture however and whenever he wished. We encouraged him to bring new work in as he chose three months or three years from now, it was entirely up to him."

...The Greens were also impressed by Houser's un-willingness to allow work to go to the gallery unless he considered it his best.

...Given the advantages of a favorable artist/gallery relationship, Houser proceeded to develop his sculptural concepts at an extraordinary rate, moving in a single decade from an output consisting principally of lifesize heads, busts, and small figures to monumental compositions. No avenue was closed to him as being too experimental or atypical. As the 1980s dawned, he had already struck the chords of his continuing themes and styles.

...As the decade began, Houser received the New Mexico Governor's award "for excellence and achievement in the arts," presented at the Capitol in Santa Fe in 1980. He and the Greens visited Europe for the November 1981 opening of an exhibition representing his work at the Salon d'Automne, Grand Palais, Paris. Afterward, he proceeded to Italy and the quarries at Carrara, where he was astonished at the enormous sheets and stacks of marble. "These are things you'd give anything for back in America," he commented. He ordered twenty tons of marble, which eventually found its way to New Mexico. He also purchased pneumatic hammers and other tools, which he elected to carry with him on the plane to the United States. "Italy has many stoneworking tools that are unavailable in the U.S. because they do so much of the work there, whereas here in America most artists haven't been interested in it. In Italy they have everything imaginable," he exulted.

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Allan Houser was represented by Glenn Green Galleries (Gallery Wall in AZ and NM) from 1974-1994

Houser’s retirement in 1975 marked the beginning of the most prolific stage of his career. With time, materials, and the family compound in southern Santa Fe county, Houser honed the visual language that was to become his artistic legacy. Fusing Native subject matter with the abstract forms and sculptural voids of his modernist peers, Houser carried the mantle of both Native American and Modernism to new levels, bringing forth such memorable images as the LEAD SINGER, ABSTRACT CROWN DANCER, and The THE MYSTIC.

Houser also continued to produce remarkable figurative pieces as well, including the life-sized bronze work Chiricahua Apache Family, dedicated in 1983 at the Fort Sill Apache Tribal Center in Apache, OK. The piece honored both the memory of his parents, Sam and Blossom, and commemorates the 70th anniversary of the release of his tribe’s prisoners-of-war from Fort Sill.

In 1985, Houser’s monumental bronze, OFFERING OF THE SACRED PIPE, was dedicated at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York City A year later, he made a bronze bust of Geronimo to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the surrender of the Chiricahua Apaches. A cast of the bust was later presented to the National Portrait Gallery, where it remains in the permanent collection.

In his last five years, Houser produced a remarkable number of pieces, and received many awards for his life’s work. In 1989 he dedicated AS LONG AS THE WATERS FLOW, a monumental bronze commissioned for the Oklahoma State Capitol building in Oklahoma City. In 1991, he presented a casting of a bronzeSACRED RAIN ARROW to the Smithsonian Institution. In the dedication before the US Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs, he dedicated the work to the American Indian. And in 1992, he became the first Native American to receive the National Medal of Arts, awarded at a ceremony at the White House by President George H. W. Bush.

In 1993, Houser was honored by the dedication of the Allan Houser Art Park at the Institute of American Indian Arts, and in 1994, he returned to Washington, D.C. for the last time to present the United States government with the sculpture, MAY WE HAVE PEACE, a gift, he said, “To the people of the United States from the First Peoples.” The gift was accepted by First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton for installation at the Vice-President’s residence.