Indigenous art. Indigenous perspectives.

Crystal Bridges Hires Jordan Poorman Cocker as Curator of Indigenous Art

Jordan Poorman Cocker

Jordan Poorman Cocker (Kiowa / Tongan). Image courtesy of the curator.

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art announces the appointment of Jordan Poorman Cocker (Kiowa/Tongan) as a new, full-time curator of Indigenous art. An enrolled citizen of the Kiowa Indian Tribe of Oklahoma, Poorman Cocker investigates interconnections between Indigenous research methodologies and Indigenous museum practices by linking relational worldviews to art. At Crystal Bridges, she plays a key role in strengthening relationships with Indigenous artists, expanding the collection of Indigenous art, providing opportunities for reciprocity through collaboration, and helping shape the vision for the museum’s expansion.

“Jordan is a deeply knowledgeable artist and scholar of Indigenous art with strong ties to Indigenous artists and communities regionally, nationally, and internationally,” said Crystal Bridges Chief Curator Austen Barron Bailly. “She brings exceptional expertise and vision to our institution. Jordan’s leadership and contributions to developing the museum’s collection and presentation of Indigenous art will ensure it reflects the richness and diversity of Indigenous cultures and will be instrumental to helping Crystal Bridges advance its mission to welcome all to explore the unfolding story of America.”

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Indian Art

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. Photo: Michael Barera (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Poorman Cocker has dedicated years to the study and advancement of Indigenous art. Her extensive knowledge of the field will play a pivotal role as Crystal Bridges continues to grow its collection to encompass myriad histories, aesthetics, and cultural expressions.

Currently completing her doctoral degree at the Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, Poorman Cocker earned her master’s degree in museology and museum studies at the Victoria University of Wellington. She has served as an art mentor in the Institute of American Indian Arts studio art MFA program.

Before her current appointment, Poorman Cocker served as collections manager for the Osage Nation Museum in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, and a Henry Luce Foundation Curatorial Scholar of Indigenous Art at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She serves as the 2021–25 Terra Foundation guest co-curator of Indigenous Art at the Block Museum at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

“I am excited to join Crystal Bridges and work to reinforce the museum’s commitment to showcasing the wide range of artistic traditions within the United States,” said Poorman Cocker. “It’s inspiring to be part of a fine arts museum located here on Caddo, Quapaw, and Osage ancestral territories. I’m eager to bring my scholarship to the institution, provide more opportunities for the museum to connect with Indigenous artists, and critically engage in ongoing conversations surrounding Indigenous art throughout the country.”



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