Yve Chavez (Tongva; PhD UCLA, 2017), is the Wheelwright Museum’s first Andrew W. Mellon Fellow. She started working at the museum in June 2017 and is curator of the exhibition LIT: The Work of Rose B. Simpson, which will open this coming November—the first major show highlighting Simpson’s career. Simpson is making several new life-size sculptures that will be exhibited with earlier works. Yve has worked closely with Simpson, who is from Santa Clara Pueblo, where she grew up in an extended family of accomplished artists. Yve has written the catalog, which will highlight Simpson’s accomplishments and contributions as a contemporary Native American artist.

Prior to her arrival at the Wheelwright, Yve graduated from the doctoral program in art history at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her dissertation, “Indigenous Artists, Ingenuity, and Resistance at the California Missions after 1769,” aims to place California Indian agency and artistry at the forefront of California mission art studies through close analysis of Chumash and Tongva practices at four of Southern California’s Franciscan missions. At UCLA, Yve’s research and teaching examined connections across the Indigenous communities of California, the Southwest, and Florida. She continues to draw upon and expand her knowledge of Native American cultures and their art through her work at the Wheelwright. Yve formerly interned at the Getty Villa, the National Museum of the American Indian, the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She is a member of the San Gabriel Mission Museum Board, located in her Tongva homeland in San Gabriel, CA.

Yve will soon leave the museum to take the prestigious University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where her mentor will be Dr. Amy Lonetree (Ho-Chunk).



Rose B. Simpson and Yve Chavez. Photo: Minesh Bacrania