A new exhibit at the Heard Museum in Phoenix offers a comprehensive look at Hopi artist Charles Loloma, who influenced generations of jewelers by incorporating nontraditional materials—such as gold-set lapis lazuli, fossilized ivory, pearls, malachite, and ironwood—into jewelry designs. “Loloma: Beauty in Hopi Jewelry,” on loan from the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian in Santa Fe, N.M., runs now through May 28.
Loloma is arguably the most influential Native American jeweler of the 20th century. His bold, innovative designs departed dramatically from Hopi cultural beliefs, yet he was intensely traditional and served as a religious leader in his native community of Hotevilla, Ariz. He has a long and close association with the Heard Museum through exhibition and collection of his work, and the Heard reputedly holds the largest museum collection of his jewelry.
The exhibit includes a comprehensive grouping of Loloma’s jewelry from the earliest documented pieces of the 1950s to the closing of his studio in 1988, and focuses on the early influences of Loloma’s development into an artistic force. The fine-art catalog Loloma: Beauty Is His Name by Martha Hopkins Struever, guest curator at the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, is available at the Heard Museum Shop & Bookstore for $75 (hardcover) and $45 (softcover).