Curator’s Pick: Siamese Twins and Statue by Virgil Ortiz

Virgil Ortiz was born there and lives in Cochiti. Coming from a place where clay and life are synonymous, Ortiz did not know that making things out of clay was art until he was a teenager. The earliest Cochiti hand-built clay figures may have been inspired by circus performers or other itinerant entertainers, since the characters are usually depicted in an active state with an open mouth, suggesting singing. Those early figures were much smaller in size than Ortiz’s sculpture, but the way he made and decorated this form is consistent with the way historic objects, including those made by his mother and grandmother, were made. This figure was made with clay that Virgil Ortiz collected on Cochiti Pueblo land, and it has a characteristic cream and black body.

Credit: Virgil Ortiz (American, 1969-). “Siamese Twins,” 1997, clay, stain, and slip. Gift of Gretchen and Nelson Grice. 2002.124.1. (c) Virgil Ortiz Creations 1997.

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