The October 2017 issue of Art in America is dedicated to contemporary Indigenous art. I was honored to contribute an article, After Columbus, which analyzes the Native art exhibitions mounted by Indigenous curators and artists in response to planned celebrations around the 1992 Columbian Quincentennial. These exhibitions are important to our understanding of contemporary American art and remain pertinent today.
In November 2016, the estate of the late artist Rick Bartow (1946-2016) gifted Yale’s Beinecke Library with Bosch, a hand-bound book containing thirteen drypoints by Bartow which were bound with Mexican amate paper. The book, completed two weeks before his passing, contains self-portraits and images of birds.
Bartow scratched the drypoint plates in spring of 2015. His friend and master printer, Seeichi Hiroshima, then printed them on Barcham Green paper. Bartow signed the prints in February 2016 and added watercolor and gouache in March. Bartow passed away on April 2, 2016.
Bosch is now in the collection of the Beinecke Library where it joins two more artists books by Bartow, 10 Little Indian Boys (2009) and 8 Prints + 4 Variations (2009).
I wrote about one of the drypoint prints, “Ride to Town,” for the Object Lesson feature of the July/August 2017 issue of the Yale Alumni Magazine.
The article can be found online: Ride to Town
The summer 2017 issue of American Indian magazine features three articles I wrote. One is about the multidisciplinary arts cooperative, Postcommodity, and their projects about the U.S.-Mexico border, especially the land installation Repellent Fence. I also wanted to write about indigenous nations living along the U.S-Mexico border and their reactions to the proposed border wall. My second article is about the Tohono O’odham Nation and the tribe’s response to such a permanent border. The third article was a memorial piece about Pablita Abeyta (1953-2017), a Navajo sculptor and former staff person at the National Museum of the American Indian. I met Pablita in 2001, and we remained friends. I was honored to have been asked to write her memorial article.
The online issue of the magazine can be found:
In January 2018, I visited the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians to spend time at the Chahta Immi Cultural Center. I brought copies of photographs I found in the National Archives that detailed arts and crafts workshops sponsored by the Indian Arts and Crafts Board in the 1960s and 1970s. I hoped to speak with the participants of these workshops and learn more about the aftereffects of these programs. Unfortunately, most of the participants had passed away. Nevertheless, it was wonderful for community members to see photographs of relatives that had been stored in the National Archives for decades. I left copies of these photographs with Amanda Bell, tribal archivist, along with a list of the Mississippi Choctaw items in the Indian Arts and Crafts Board Headquarters collection (now housed at the National Museum of the American Indian).
My visit was covered in the Choctaw Community News (vol. XLVII, No. 2, February 2017).
On February 22, I had the opportunity to present a research paper at UC Berkeley’s Ethnic Studies department. Sponsored by Cal’s American Indian Graduate Student Association, the Crossing Paths program pairs a graduate student with an undergraduate student to present research papers in indigenous studies to fellow students at Berkeley. I discussed the research I conducted in Australia on the history of metal gorgets given to Australian Aboriginals, their connection to earlier gorgets in North America, and how contemporary indigenous Australian artists are reclaiming and recreating gorgets to indigenize the colonial past. More of this research will be presented later this year, and it was wonderful to receive feedback–especially since an indigenous Australian student attended the talk!
Such wonderful news! I have received a project grant from the Center for Craft, Creativity & Design (CCCD). Based in Asheville, North Carolina, the CCCD “advances the understanding of craft by encouraging and supporting research, critical dialogue, and professional development in the United States.”
The CCCD grant will allow me to conduct research and interviews for the third chapter of my dissertation. That chapter examines the pottery, basketry, and woodworking workshops held among the North Carolina Cherokee and Mississippi Choctaw during the 1960s and 1970s. After gathering archival documents about these workshops, it will be fruitful to spend time at the tribal archives and speak with community members about these workshops.
The fall 2016 issue of American Indian magazine features my article on public artworks created by Native artists in the United States. The magazine pitched the idea to me, and immediately I was interested in exploring the topic.
I had many questions.
- What constitutes public art? Can’t petroglyphs and pictographs be public art?
- What are the classifications of public art (memorials, murals, etc.)?
- How did Native artists receive these public art commissions?
- Are there certain areas of the U.S. with more works by Native artists (Oklahoma, the American Southwest)?
- Where do these artworks reside (government buildings, airports, universities)?
- Alaska often gets overlooked in discussions about Native art. What works can be found in Alaska?
- What about graffiti artists and murals in alleys?
It was a wonderful assignment. I am thankful to artists and scholars who answered my questions about specific artworks and sent me images. And the article layout is beautiful. To read the article, visit Montiel, Anya. “Outside the Walls: Indigenous Public Art.” American Indian (Fall 2016): 14-17, 19-24, 26-27.