The Early Years of Native American Art History: The Politics of Scholarship and Collecting

The Early Years of Native American Art History: The Politics of Scholarship and Collecting

By: Janet Catherine Berlo (author)Hardback

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The field of Native American art history, and our idea of what comprises Indian art itself, were molded largely by the policies of the museums and institutions that established their ethnological collections in the second half of the nineteenth century. Objects housed in the great natural history museums -- collected and seen first as natural history specimens and later as 'primitive art' -- have long been considered to be normative Native American art, rather than as representative of a long and changing history. Collectors' biases against Euro-American influenced work, tourist items, and contemporary art have further distorted our understanding of the field. Such attitudes and practices have led to accusations that an imperialistic Native American art history not only developed, but also maintains, the fictions of a colonizer/colonized relationship. This collection of essays deals with the development of Native American art history as a discipline rather than with particular art works or artists. It focuses on the early anthropologists, museum curators, dealers, and collectors, and on the multiple levels of understanding and misunderstanding, appropriation and reappropriation which characterized their transactions. The essays examine major figures, art forms, institutions, and events of the early years when Native American artworks were first collected, studied, and displayed.

About Author

Janet Catherine Berlo is a professor in the Department of Art History at the University of Missouri, St. Louis.


Preface 1. Introduction: The Formative Years of Native American Art History 2. Franz Boas, John Swanton, and the New Haida Sculpture at the American Museum of Natural History 3. New Questions for 'Old Things': The Brooklyn Museum's Zuni Collection 4. Louisa Keyser and the Cohns: Mythmaking and Basket Making in the American West 5. 'The Artist Himself': The Salish Basketry Monograph and the Beginnings of a Boasian Paradigm 6. Lila Morris O'Neale: Ethnoaesthetics and the Yurok-Karok Basket Weavers of Northwestern California 7. Marketing the Affinity of the Primitive and the Modern: Rene d'Harnoncourt and 'Indian Art of the United States' Contributors Index

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780774804332
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 256
  • ID: 9780774804332
  • weight: 580
  • ISBN10: 0774804335

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