All the books reviews
A Bag Worth a Pony: The Art of the Ojibwe Bandolier Bag - (ENGLISH)
Bandolier bags or "gashkibidaaganag" are large, heavily beaded shoulder bags made and worn by several North American Indian tribes around the Great Lakes. They are prized cultural icons within their own cultures and around the world. Dakota peoples would even trade a pony for a beautiful beaded bag! Over the years, non-Indian collectors and ethnographers bought them up. Today, there are hundreds of bags in museums around the world, but not so many in the hands of community members. In this book, Marcia G. Anderson shares the results of thirty years of study in which she learned from the talented bead artists who keep the form alive, from historical records, and from the bags themselves. Anderson examines the history, forms, structure, and motifs of the bags. She gives readers the tools to understand a bag’s makeup and meaning and offers a tour of Minnesota’s seven Ojibwe reservations. Part one of this densely illustrated book examines the historical development of this unique and beautiful art form, while part two looks at the tradition regionally and identifies specific artists. A wealth of historic photos is distributed throughout its pages.
A Cameroon World: Art and Artifacts from the Marshall and Caroline Mount Collection - (ENGLISH)
This catalogue accompanied an eponymous exhibition that was at the QCC Art Gallery at CUNY this last fall and winter. It offers readers who were unable to visit the show a good look at the Mount Collection. Page presents an interesting and thorough essay on Cameroon’s history and natural environment, illustrated with a comprehensive display of material culture and art production from the various regions in the country. With approximately 150 ethnic groups, Cameroon is a diverse and complex environment. Page guides the reader from region to region, offering such insights as the effects of natural resource levels on localized art forms and production. The larger part of the book is devoted to objects from the Mount Collection, which includes utilitarian pieces, sacred figures, paintings, masks, ornaments, jewelry, and more. All the pieces were acquired during the Mounts’ travels in Cameroon over the course of several decades.
A Closer Look. Local Styles in the Yoruba Collection of the Afrika Museum, Berg en Dal - (ENGLISH)
This work presents and examines 284 objects, and represents the first systematic study ever published of the regional and local styles of West African Yoruba art. Hans Witte innovatively presents the collection of the Afrika Museum in Berg en Dal, the Netherlands, not only through the examination of its cultural context, but also through the study and differentiation of local and regional styles (no fewer than nineteen are identified) and their geographical origin. His classification of objects by style is based on a huge corpus of documentation on Yoruba art and on his thirty years of study of art history and the anthropological literature of the Yoruba. Witte justifies his classifications with clarity and detail, with appropriate reference to the literature. He encourages discussion on the attribution of works and on the concept of style among the Yoruba. The author, retired since 1989, was curator of the Afrika Museum in the 1970s and chief lecturer at the University of Groningen in the 1980s. He has written numerous articles, books, and exhibition catalogues on various aspects of Yoruba art in the course of his career, and was co-editor of the publications Iconography of Religions and Visible Religions
A Curator’s Quest: Building the Museum of Modern Art’s Painting and Sculpture Collection, 1967–1988 - (ENGLISH)
The late William Rubin was a major force in raising public awareness with regard to tribal art. Though he was a collector of note of African art, his career focused largely on twentieth-century Western art. He served as the chief curator and later as director of the department of painting and sculpture at MoMA in New York, and while he greatly increased the museum’s standing in its main collecting areas during his twenty-year tenure there, he also brought tribal art into the mix with the 1984 exhibition “Primitivism” in 20th Century Art: Affinity of the Tribal and the Modern. The themes of this show remain controversial, but it is undeniable that this was one of the most important and influential exhibitions of tribal art in the second half of the twentieth century. This hefty book is not about tribal art per se. Rather, it traces the course of Rubin’s professional life and provides a compilation of his lectures and essays on a wide variety of modern and contemporary-art-related subjects. If you’ve ever wondered how the Primitivism exhibition came to be, this is a unique opportunity to get into the mind of the man behind it.
A New Deal for Native Art: Indian Arts and Federal Policy, 1933-1943 - (ENGLISH)
This book is a detailed historical account of the New Deal's effect upon—and plans for—Native American arts and crafts during the Great Depression era. The author seeks to fill a number of gaps in the historical records from this time, focusing the book's initial chapters on the development and implementation of New Deal programs that sought to generate an upscale market for Native American works, but often operated at cross purposes to Native self-sufficiency. Exploring governmental efforts to stimulate production and consumption of Native American arts and crafts, and the resulting dilemmas that ensued, this book sheds light on the deterioration of indigenous American art traditions.
A Song for the Horse Nation: Horses in Native American Cultures - (ENGLISH)
This catalogue was published to accompany a namesake exhibition opening in November at the George Gustav Heye Center, the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian in New York. Horse Nation explores the many changes that Native American cultures experienced when horses—which they initially dubbed "sky dogs"—became an integral part of their lives. The catalogue contains many illustrations, both of traditional objects from the Smithsonian's collection as well as historical photographs of North American Indians, and is embellished with songs, poems, and stories from times long past.
A Sourcebook of Nasca Ceramic Iconography: Reading a Culture Through Its Art - (ENGLISH)
The author of this book has extensive knowledge about Nasca culture, which makes the publication of most interest to readers who already have some background knowledge of Nasca pottery. The book opens with a fine introductory overview of Nasca culture (100 BC–AD 650), which developed from the earlier Paracas civilization. Proulx discusses several scholars’ perspectives on Nasca culture before moving on to the core of his study—the actual pottery and the iconography of its designs. The main themes are divided into three categories: Supernatural or Sacred Themes, Intermediate Sacred/Secular Themes, and Secular Themes. The subcategories are detail illustrated for clarification. Overall the book provides a thorough examination of Nasca culture and its highly regarded pottery.
Aborigènes, collections australiennes contemporaines du musée des Confluences - (FRENCH)
As the last Parcours des Monde demonstrated, there is a real bridge between tribal and contemporary art. True to this, Aboriginal painting has been attracting an increasingly large public, which is drawn by its scale and dreamlike imagery. Incorporating the views of an art historian, two anthropologists, a museum curator, a gallerist, and a critic, this book reveals the extraordinary richness of the collections of the Musée des Confluences in Lyon, the opening of which is anticipated with great impatience, despite ongoing delays. Bark paintings from Arnhem Land, the hypnotic paintings of Abie Loy Kemarre, not to mention the linocuts of Dennis Nona—the eye vibrates as it delves into these sober yet elegant works. This beautifully illustrated book serves as a perfect “initiation,” in more than one sense of the word.
Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art - Collection Highlights - (ENGLISH)
Coinciding with the opening of the major extension of the National Gallery of Australia on September 30, 2010, this catalogue features 183 works of art covering key art regions from remote, regional, and urban areas. The NGA holds 7,000 pieces of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, about 600 of which will be on permanent display in the eleven new galleries. It is the largest collection of Australian indigenous art in the world. Written by some twenty-eight indigenous authors, curators, and other experts in the field, the book was edited by senior curator Franchesca Cubillo, a member of the Larrakia, Baradi, Wardaman, and Yanyuwa Nations. Wally Caruana is an independent curator, author, and consultant on indigenous Australian art. The book is completed with notes, a glossary, a map, and an index of featured artists. This superb book is a "must have" for anyone interested in the oldest continuing tradition of art extant and one of the great artistic traditions of the world. Another advantage is an easily managed paperback format with high-quality paper and excellent images reproduced in color and black and white.
Accumulating Histories: African Art from the Charles B. Benenson Collection at the Yale University Art Gallery - (ENGLISH)
This comprehensive publication celebrates one of the largest and most significant bequests in the Yale University Art Gallery’s history: the exceptional Charles B. Benenson Collection of African Art. Bequeathed from 2002 to 2004, this gift of 586 objects nearly tripled the gallery’s holdings in this area, transforming what was once a modest installation into one of the nation’s premier university collections of African art. Accumulating Histories features full cataloguing data (including culture, date, provenance, bibliography, and exhibition history) and color reproductions of every object. In a departure from traditional collections catalogues, essays recount the testimony of Benenson’s family, close friends, professional advisors, and African art dealers to examine the history of his collection.