Christine McHorse

b. 1948 — d. 2021


Christine Nofchissey McHorse (b. Morenci, AZ 1948; died Santa Fe, NM 2021) was a Diné, or Navajo, ceramicist whose elegant and distinct vessels defy popular expectations of Native American art. McHorse is known for her sensual pottery made with shimmering micaceous clay, a rare but naturally occurring material high in mica content and found near the area of Taos, New Mexico. Many of her works also incorporate piñon tree pitch on the surface which acts as a natural lacquer and waterproofing sealant. McHorse created her ceramics by layering coils of clay, instead of using a mechanized traditional pottery wheel, as she continued to develop the Tiwa ceramic tradition (local to Santa Fe) she learned from her mother in law.

McHorse’s work was the subject of Dark Light, which traveled to Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park (KS); Houston Center for Contemporary Craft (TX);Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, Norman (OK); Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe (NM); and the Navajo Nation Museum, Wind Rock (AZ) between 2013–2015. Her work also traveled in the landmark exhibition, Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists, to Minneapolis Institute of Art (MN); Frist Museum, Nashville (TN); Renwick Gallery of The Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C.; and Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa (OK) between 2019–2021.

Her work is held by institutions including Denver Museum of Art (CO); Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C.; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (NL); and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville (AR), among others.