Tipi: Heritage of the Great Plains Exhibit
Through May 15, 2011 at the Brooklyn Museum, NY
Many of us lead nomadic lifestyles, switching up our love interests, day jobs, apartments and dietary preferences on a bi-annual basis. So why aren’t we all living in tipis? The ultimate in portable dwelling, tipis would not only accommodate our hectic lifestyles, they might just inspire us to slow down. Our recent visit to the Tipi exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum reminded us that in addition to looking super cool on a prairie, tipis are the center of social, ceremonial and artistic life for men and women in Native American culture. In terms of creativity, they are akin to a fort. (Remember those? Homemade, with pillows? Let’s go make one now!!)
In addition to several tipis ranging in size from truly impressive (like, you-could-have-a-wedding-in-one-of-those-impressive) to miniature (tipi dollhouse? Yes please!), the exhibit also showcased beaded baby bibs, traditional clothing and moccasins, knife sheaths, a boy’s bow case, jewelry and a bizarre “tipi liner” depicting the Vietnam War. (Huh??)
Aside from the tipis, which were thought-provoking (could companies utilize tipis for creative brainstorming sessions? Could we fit one in our house?), this writer took in the exhibit with a disconcerting sense of unease. It struck her as cruelly ironic that an exhibit about Native Americans (a people displaced) would take place in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn: a hub of gentrification. But let’s keep this light, shall we? And let’s end by remembering how much fun it is to hide away from real life in a small, improvised space either alone, with stuffed animals, with pillows, or with our friends. Until we can reclaim enough land to erect tipis again, the revolution will take place in a fort made out of pillows.
In other tipi news: don’t miss Bascom Lodge’s grand opening celebration on the top of Mount Greylock for a tipi raising and mountain blessing. Mount Greylock is located in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, where Pulp Lab will be hosting a pop-up shop this summer. (Not on the mountain. But near it.) Mount Greylock is also the mountain that inspired Herman Melville to write Moby Dick, because the view from Melville’s window let out onto Mount Greylock’s famous hump. From humps to humpbacks, Mount Greylock is a super destination for anyone with a serious case of wanderlust.