Amon Carter museum visitor returns to Fort Worth with exhibit of his own

Maskette, 1780–1830

Tsimshian, British Columbia

Wood, copper, opercula shell, pigment

Courtesy American Federation of Arts Diker no. 681

Art collector Charles Diker still has the souvenir tie he bought when he visited the Amon Carter Museum of American Art eight years ago.

When he and his wife Valerie return to the museum on Monday, they will be opening an exhibit featuring pieces out of their own collection.

Indigenous Beauty, a collection of Native American art, opens to the public Tuesday and runs through September 13. The exhibit holds 122 pieces out of the Dikers’ collection, which totals more than 300 pieces of indigenous art.

“It’s called Indigenous Beauty because they were the indigenous people of this country,” he said. “I think it’s probably the most important culture other than the western culture that exists in this country because they were here first. I think you have to celebrate that.”

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Diker’s interest in indigenous works began when he visited Santa Fe for the first time in 1971. The city, which Diker calls the “epicenter of a fair amount of Native American art,” exposed him to the art for the first time.

Diker said he fell in love.

“The Native American art is the first American art,” he said. “It began to talk to me about the variety of materials and the variety of shapes and forms and uses, and it was fascinating to me.”

This is the first time the exhibit has gone on tour, with the Amon Carter museum being the second stop. The work had previously spent time at the Seattle Art Museum.

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Before the tour, the pieces went on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1998-2000) in New York City and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (2003-2006) in Washington, D.C.

More than half of the works displayed on the tour, however, will be works that the public has never seen before.

Andrew Walker, the director of the Amon Carter, said the audience should enjoy the comprehensiveness and variety of the art from various regions.

The works from the Northwest Coast are among his personal favorites, he said, calling the sculptures “magical.”

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The public will also be able to handle Native American art materials like buffalo hide and abalone shells, according to a press release.

Diker, who owns an investment management firm, said he and his wife are excited to share their collection with Fort Worth.

His tie will be likely traveling with him, he said.

“[It’s a] very specific tie with an Amon Carter design on it,” he said. “As a matter of fact, I think I’ll bring it down.”

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