Article on Public Art

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.


Newberry Consortium in American Indian Studies

From July 11 to August 6, 2016, I participated in the summer institute at the Newberry Consortium in American Indian Studies in Chicago. This year’s institute led by professors Kate Wisecup and Kathleen Washburn focused on “Writing Indigenous Histories: Print, Material, and Digital Sites of Memory.”

Besides accessing the Newberry Library’s archives for dissertation research,  I wrote a research paper and gave a conference presentation during the Newberry’s graduate student conference. Entitled “Art or Ethnography: The Politics of Display and the Entangled Messages of the 1939 Indian Court at the Golden Gate International Exposition,” my presentation analyzed a slide reel on the 1939 exposition in the Newberry’s archive.

Rick Bartow talk: Yale University Art Gallery

On June 10, 2016, I gave a gallery talk at the Yale University Art Gallery, in conjunction with the recent installation of five works on paper by American artist Rick Bartow (1946-2016).

The Yale University Art Gallery has seven works on paper by Bartow, dating from 1985 to 1989. These early works are from the Richard Brown Baker collection and have not been exhibited before. Fellow PhD candidate Sequoia Miller and I proposed the installation and wrote the gallery text.

The audience for the afternoon talk included a wonderful group of Yale students, faculty, and New Haven residents. The accompanying photo features Yale Native students and me.

Bartow Talk June 10 Native Students

“Gallery Talk, A Pacific Coast Artist: The Life and Art of Rick E. Bartow”

Friday, June 10, 2016, 1:30 pm

Raised along the Oregon coast, artist Rick E. Bartow (1946–2016), a member of the Wiyot tribe of northern California, incorporated the Pacific Coast environment into his unique figurative drawings. Focusing on works by Bartow in the Gallery’s collection on view in the Jane and Richard Levin Study Gallery, Anya Montiel, Ph.D. candidate in American Studies, discusses how Bartow’s life and homeland informed his works.


Article on Artist Athena LaTocha

The summer issue of American Indian magazine, published by the National Museum of the American Indian, features my article on painter Athena LaTocha. While she lives and works in New York, LaTocha was born and raised in Alaska. For her art practice, she does not use brushes but, instead, utilizes bricks and tire shreds to move the paint on the canvas.

This is my 20th article for the magazine. I hope you enjoy it!

Athena LaTocha (Summer 2016)


Native Art in History Today

Many thanks to Rhys Griffiths and History Today for its article on “Native America’s Post-war History in Ten Works of Art.” I feel privileged that four of my suggestions were included in the list of ten.

Rhys contacted me in February about his upcoming feature which would be a “primer of 20th century Native American history, as seen through its cultural artefacts…[through] a chronological list of 10 works of art (paintings, records, books, films, etc.).” I submitted four artworks that I consider to be seminal works on multiple levels (subject matter, style, medium, public response, etc.). I guess he agreed with all of my suggestions! History Today is a monthly magazine based in London whose aim is “to bring serious history to a wide audience.”

I hope people in England and elsewhere learn more about Native expressive arts.


Essay in the Oxford Handbook

I am honored to have contributed an essay to The Oxford Handbook of American Indian History edited by Frederick E. Hoxie. I wrote the chapter (#23) on “Native American Expressive Arts,” and Oxford University Press released the handbook this month (April 2016). I appreciated the opportunity to provide an overview of Native American art history and to be included with such wonderful scholars.

Opening with the life and art of Dakota artist Oscar Howe, the chapter discusses the
“Indianness” of Native art and the frustrations experienced by Native artists over the
years surrounding their creative expressions. The chapter is arranged chronologically,
opening in the late nineteenth century and highlighting sample exhibitions, artworks, and
artists from the United States in order to illustrate broad conceptual issues. These
include Indian authenticity and identity, differences between fine art and “crafts,”
traditional versus contemporary art forms, the role of the arts in economic development,
and the impact of federal power on the arts. The chapter draws examples from painting,
sculpture, photography, video, and performance art. It concludes with a proposal for
understanding Native art inspired by the words of Santa Clara artist Rose Simpson.

Symposium Paper: Entangled Antipodes

I am presenting my research on metal gorgets given to Native North Americans and Australian Aboriginals at the “Entangled Antipodes: Negotiating Art and Empire in Australasia” symposium at Yale University. My research draws from my research trip to Australia in summer 2015 and interviews with contemporary indigenous artists in Australia and the United States.

Friday, February 12, 2016
10:00 am
“Presentations of Colonial Power: The Narrowing of Indigeneity between
Aboriginal King Plates and North American Gorgets”
Entangled Antipodes_Poster_1.19.16-page-001