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Oklahoma State University

Martha of Taos: Broomstick Skirts, Concho Belts, and the History of Southwestern Fashion

Taos, New Mexico, is one of several cities in the United States that contributed to the popularization of a distinctly American style of clothing in the years following WWII.  Home of Taos Pueblo (an ancient community belonging to a Native American tribe of Puebloan people), the city had been an artists’ colony since the early 1900s because of its scenic location as well as its Native American and Hispanic heritage.

Martha Reed (1922-2010), an artist, fashion designer, and highly independent woman, made Taos her home in the early 1950s.  She established the  “Martha of Taos” label in 1955, working throughout her career with seamstresses from Taos Pueblo to create her signature broomstick skirts and Navajo-inspired velvet skirts and blouses. Martha was the only child of the well-known printmaker and painter Doel Reed, who would also move to Taos with his wife Jane in 1959. 

With her distinctive sense of style, Martha was a key figure in the creation and promotion of Southwestern fashion from the 1950s-1990s. This exhibition places Martha’s designs within the larger framework of American style and draws attention to the Native American roots of Southwestern fashion.

Exhibitions and programs at the OSU Museum of Art are supported by OSU/A&M Board of Regents, OSUMA Art Advocates and the Oklahoma Arts Council. Additional support for this exhibition is provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art, Linda and Jim Burke, Deb and Dave Engle and the Chi Omega Alumnae Club, Stillwater, OK. A special thank you is extended to the lenders to the exhibition that include: Vaughn D. Vennerberg II, Dallas, TX, OSU ‘76 , Neal and Lora Buck, and the Millicent Rogers Museum, Taos, NM.

      

NOTE: Due to Labor Day weekend and the museum's holiday closure, the last day to view this exhibition will be Friday, Sept. 2.

May 31, 2016 to September 03, 2016