The first formal connection between the Norman Daly Collection, held by the Cornell University Archives, and a university graduate course has recently taken place.
In the Spring of 2023, Professor Poppy McLeod had planned to take her Advanced Communication Theory class, a requirement for first-year PhD students, on a field trip to a physical environment that would illustrate a particular theory the class was studying from an interdisciplinary approach.
“At first I was thinking of taking them to a zoo,” McLeod said, “until I read the announcement that the Archives had acquired the Norman Daly collection, at the heart of which was ‘The Civilization of Llhuros.’ I thought ‘Wow, that’s it. That’s what I’m going to do!’”
In 1958, Norman Daly, a Cornell art professor, entered a contest sponsored by the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute in Utica, NY. The assignment was to create a mural design for a new bank in Utica. It is likely that Daly, who had a deep regard for the art of native peoples, chose the mural’s theme –The Legend of the Oneida Stone. Daly’s entry was the winning design for which he received two cash prizes. No documentation has been found concerning a proposed size for the completed mural, but since a commission from the bank did not come through the mural was never executed.
Daly’s demo mural consisted of five contiguous panels, forming a 16 inch by 8 foot-4-inch long modello. The panels, stored in Daly’s residence, were recently found while archival preparations were undertaken. Efforts are underway to find a permanent home for the mural design.
Looking back over Daly’s life and work, it is significant that he chose a theme that represents the Oneida Nation and the Travels of the Oneida Stone. As an art student at the University of Colorado he had immersed himself in and acquired a life-long reverence for the art of the Native Americans of the Southwest, particularly the Pueblo Nations. Daly’s striking Southwest series of paintings (1945-48) is a substantial homage to the arts of Native peoples which Daly described as having made “splendid artistic contributions.” It seems perfectly fitting that through his mural design Norman Daly would honor one of New York State’s Native American Nations.
We are happy to announce that the current Rollins Museum e-Newsletter announces an exhibition (January 14-April 2, 2023) of five new acquisitions which includes “Bull and Cow”, boldly featured on the newsletter’s front page. Aside from its use in educational programs at Rollins, the painting will likely be shown in context as part of themed exhibitions in the future.
Rollins Museum of Art displays a sustained commitment to acquiring works in various media and time periods, and by artists of diverse backgrounds, in alignment with their teaching mission and the curriculum of a liberal arts education.
This fall, Cornell University Library’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections acquired a trove of archival materials documenting the creation of this fictional society, giving researchers and historians a detailed view into a unique project that is both an absurdist critique of academic anthropology and an attempt to draw crucial connections between the past and the present, highlighting the challenges – spiritual, political and environmental – that all societies struggle to address.