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Native North American Art

Second Edition

Janet Catherine Berlo and Ruth B. Phillips

Publication Date - September 2014

ISBN: 9780199947546

440 pages
7 x 10 inches

In Stock

The definitive text on Native North American Art


This lively introductory survey of indigenous North American arts from ancient times to the present explores both the shared themes and imagery found across the continent and the distinctive traditions of each region. Focusing on the richness of artwork created in the US and Canada, Native North American Art, Second Edition, discusses 3,000 years of architecture, wood and rock carvings, basketry, dance masks, clothing and more. The expanded text discusses twentieth- and twenty-first-century arts in all media including works by James Luna, Kent Monkman, Nadia Myre, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Will Wilson, and many more. Authors Berlo and Phillips incorporate new research and scholarship, examining such issues as art and ethics, gender, representation, and the colonial encounter. By bringing into one conversation the seemingly separate realms of the sacred and the secular, the political and the domestic, and the ceremonial and the commercial, Native North American Art shows how visual arts not only maintain the integrity of spiritual and social systems within Native North American societies, but have long been part of a cross-cultural experience as well.

New to this Edition

  • New features, including "Object in Focus," "Technique in Focus," and "Artist in Focus" boxes, are in every chapter
  • Updated and expanded coverage of contemporary Native American Art
  • More than 225 images, many new to this edition
  • New glossary, timelines, and an updated bibliography

About the Author(s)

Janet Catherine Berlo is Professor of Visual and Cultural Studies at the University of Rochester. She has taught Native American art history as a visiting professor at Harvard, Yale, and UCLA, and has received grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Getty Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Ruth B. Phillips is Canada Research Chair and Professor of Art History at Carleton University in Ottawa. She has served as director of the University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology and as president of Comité International d'Histoire de l'Art (CIHA), UNESCO's world art history organization. She has been a visiting professor at Cambridge and Harvard Universities and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Previous Publication Date(s)

November 1998


"The Second Edition of Native North American Art updates a canonical text in the field of Native American Art History with key theoretical, methodological and artist additions. Initially instrumental in shaping the field of Native American Art History, this edition continues to influence critical interactions with critiques on modernism, materiality and indigenous authorship. Unique to this undergraduate text is the integration of the legacy of colonialism as a foundational structure in the analysis of Native American Art History. Teasing out the tensions between the histories of Native American Art, current theoretical approaches, and art dealing with critical indigenous issues, this text expertly charts a course through thousands of years of 'American' art."--Jolene Rickard, Cornell University

"The quality of the scholarship and the accessibility of the writing--for general undergraduates, as well as those who have some background in art history or Native American studies--make this text very useful for my teaching."--Bill Anthes, Pitzer College

"Native North American Art is absolutely the best text in the field. Extraordinary in both range and depth, the text's main strengths are its comprehensive coverage, its inclusion of contemporary works, and its highly accessible and engaging writing style."--Jennifer McLerran, Northern Arizona University

"This text is compact and concise, inexpensive for students, and written at a level appropriate for an introductory text."--Peri Klemm, California State University, Northridge

"Native North American Art does an excellent job of explaining the rationale behind the production of Native American art. The photos, maps, and boxed topics are great for clarifying specific themes, ideas, and processes."--Andrea Donovan, Minot State University

Table of Contents

    List of Abbreviations
    1. An Introduction to the Indigenous Arts of North America
    Art history and Native Art: The Challenge of Inclusion
    --Modes of Appreciation: Curiosity, Specimen, Art
    --OBJECT IN FOCUS: The National Museum of the American Indian
    --Expanding Art History's Inclusivity, and Defining "Art"
    Colonial Legacies
    --Ownership and Public Display
    -ISSUE IN FOCUS: 'Who Owns Native Culture?
    --Commodification and Authenticity
    --Who Is an Indian? Clan, Community, Political Structure, and Art
    Spiritual Practices and the Making of Art
    --The Map of the Cosmos
    --The Nature of Spirit
    --Dreams and the Vision Quest
    Social Practices and the Making of Art
    --Public Celebration: Displaying and Transferring Power and Authority
    --The Power of Personal Adornment
    --"Creativity Is Our Tradition": Innovations and Retention
    --Gender and the Making of Art
    --ARTIST IN FOCUS: Kent Monkman--Repainting Art's Histories
    2. The Southwest
    The Southwest as a Region
    The Ancient World: Anasazi, Mimbres, Hohokam
    --Ancestral Puebloan Architecture, Ritual and Worldview
    --Ancestral Puebloan Fiber Arts
    --Ancestral Puebloan Pottery
    --An Animated Universe: Mimbres Painted Bowls
    --OBJECT IN FOCUS: Mimbres Pottery Designs--Trajectories and Transformations
    --An Animated Universe: Mimbres Painted Bowls
    --Hohokam Art and Culture
    --Paquimé: Crossroads of Cultures 1250 - 1450 C.E.
    From Late Precontact to the Colonial Era to the Modern Pueblos
    --Pecos Pueblo: An Intercultural Zone
    --Pueblo Architectural Space and Ritual Performance
    --Pueblo Pottery
    --ARTISTS IN FOCUS: Maria and Julian Martinez
    Navajo and Apache Arts
    --Arts of Medicine and Performance
    --Navajo Weaving and the Powers of Transformation
    --MATERIALS IN FOCUS: Wools for Navajo Weaving
    --Apache and O'odham Baskets
    --Navajo and Pueblo Jewelry
    3. The East
    The East as a Region
    --Precontact Art Traditions: Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian Civilizations
    --The Archaic Period
    --The Woodland Period
    --Mississippian Art and Culture
    The Southeast: The Cataclysm of Contact
    --A Continuum of Basketry: Chitimacha Traditionalism and Beyond
    --Reconfiguring Southeastern Arts: Seminole and Miccosukee Textiles
    The Northeast and the Great Lakes
    --The Early Contact Period
    --Arts of the "Middle Ground"
    --Arts of Self-Adornment
    --OBJECT IN FOCUS: The Assiginack Canoe
    --Techniques in focus: Quillwork and Beadwork
    --In the Bag: A Mini-History of Change Told Through Bags
    --ARTIST IN FOCUS: Caroline Parker
    --Souvenir Arts
    4. The West
    The West as a Region
    --The Great Plains
    --The Plateau, The Great Basin, and California
    Art of the Great Plains
    --Women's Arts
    --TECHNIQUE IN FOCUS: Tanning a Hide
    --Men's Arts
    --Arts of Survival and Renewal
    --ARTIST IN FOCUS: Silver Horn: Chronicler of Kiowa Life
    --An Aesthetic of Excess
    --Métis Art: "The Flower Beadwork People"
    The Intermontaine Region-An Artistic Crossroads
    --OBJECT IN FOCUS: A Bride's Wealth and a Community's Wealth
    The Far West: Arts of California and the Great Basin
    --Chumash baskets and the California Mission System
    --The ''Basketry Craze'' and the Arts and Crafts Movement
    --Lower Klamath River baskets
    --Pomo baskets: "Wrought with Feathers"
    --Washoe Baskets and the Power of Marketing
    5. The North
    The North as a Region
    Arts of the Boreal Forests
    --The Beothuk: "Perhaps They Were Not All Erased"
    --Clothing Arts to Please the Animals
    --Painted Coats of the Innu: Pleasing the Spirits of Caribou
    --The James Bay Cree: From Painted Geometries to Beaded Flowers
    --Dene Clothing for Protection and Beauty
    The Arctic
    --Ancient Artists of the Arctic
    Historic and Contemporary Arts of the Arctic
    --Arctic Architecture: Igloo, Tent, and House
    --Garments for Warmth and Beauty
    --TECHNIQUE IN FOCUS: Working with Gutskin
    --ARTIST IN FOCUS: Nivisanaaq and Her Beaded Parka
    --Arts of Festival, Performance, and Success in the Hunt
    --OBJECT IN FOCUS: The Ttravels of a Raven Mask
    --Arts for New Markets: Baskets, Carvings, Dolls, and Textiles
    --Graphic Arts: Chronicling Life and Recalling the Past
    Toward the Twenty-First Century in the North
    6. The Northwest Coast
    The Northwest Coast as a Region
    The Development of Styles: Local Variations and Regional Continuities Across Time
    --The Origins of Northwest Coast Artistic Styles: The Archaeological Record
    --The Early Contact Period
    --The Formline Style
    --Western Connoisseurship and Northwest Coast Art
    --TECHNIQUE IN FOCUS: Finger-weaving a Chilkat Blanket
    --OBJECT IN FOCUS: A Tsimshian Mask and Questions of Patrimony
    Contexts for Art: Power, Status, and Cross-Cultural Exchange
    --Crest Art
    --The Potlatch
    --Art, Commodity, and Oral Tradition
    -- ARTISTS IN FOCUS: Charles and Isabella Edenshaw
    Northwest Coast Art Since the Beginning of the Twentieth Century
    7. Native Art 1900-1980: Moderns and Modernists
    The Multiplicity of Modernisms
    --Problems of Definition: Indigenous, Modern, Modernist
    --Primitivism, the "Time-Lag," and Multiple Modernisms
    --The "Contemporary Traditional" in Twentieth-Century Art
    --Moments of Beginning
    --Schooling the Modern Native North American Artist
    --The Southern Plains and the Kiowa Five
    --Pueblo Painting and the Rise of the "Studio Style"
    --The Display and Marketing of American Indian Art: Exhibitions, Mural Projects, and Competitions
    --OBJECT IN FOCUS: "Book Cover of "Introduction to American Indian Art" (1931)
    Moderns and Modernists at the Mid-Century
    --Pioneering Modernists: Howe, Herrera, Houser
    --The Institute of American Indian Arts
    --Twentieth-Century Native Art in Alaska
    --Institutional Frameworks and Modernisms in Canada
    --Inventing 'Inuit Art'
    --TECHNIQUE IN FOCUS: Inuit Stonecut Prints
    --Tradition in Modernity on the Northwest Coast
    --Anishinaabe Modern and Plains Abstraction: Morrisseau and Janvier
    Artists and Activists in Canada: The 1970s and 1980s
    --The Indians of Canada Pavilion at Expo 67
    --Professionalization and Experimentation: Decolonizing Modernism
    --ARTIST IN FOCUS: Fritz Scholder
    8. Native Cosmopolitanisms: 1980 and Beyond
    The 1980s and the Rise of a Contemporary Native Art Movement
    --The Artist as Trickster
    --Institutional Contexts
    Contemporary Art: Media, Expressive Modes, Artistic Choices
    --Painting and Graphic Arts
    --ARTIST IN FOCUS: Jaune Quick-to-See Smith--Artist and Advocate
    Craft in Art: Fiber, Metal, Clay, and Beyond
    CONCEPT IN FOCUS: What is "Craft"?
    Sculpture and Mixed Media
    OBJECT IN FOCUS: Edgar Heap of Birds' Wheel
    Film, Video, and New Media
    Preeminent Issues in Native Art Since 1980
    --Postcolonial Perspectives on Sovereignty, Home, and Homelands
    --Ecology and the Land
    --The Native Body
    --Globalism and the Transnational
    Conclusion: "Celebrate 40,000 Years of American Art" - But Be Vigilant
    Bibliographic Essay