The Burlington Magazine, April 2023

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions, journal articles, obituaries by Editor on April 30, 2023

View of Fort Christiansborg [Christiansborg Castle, Osu] from the Shore, March 1764, ink and coloured wash on paper
(Danish National Archives)

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The eighteenth century in the April issue of The Burlington . . .

The Burlington Magazine 165 (April 2023)


• Gauvin Alexander Bailey, “The Design of Cape Coast Castle and Dixcove Fort, Ghana,” pp. 378–93.
The first analysis of the design of two of the principal eighteenth-century British slave castles and forts of the Gold Coast reveals the Western engravings used as prototypes but also acknowledges these buildings’ engagement with African cultures and forms. Identifying the people who built them and assessing the forts’ association with the coastal African community challenges the popular misconception that they were no more than European transplants.


Book cover, Helen Wyld, The Art of Tapestry• Morlin Ellis, Review of the exhibition Spain and the Hispanic World: Treasures from the Hispanic Society Museum and Library (Royal Academy of Arts, 2023), pp. 442–45.

• Simon Jervis, Review of the exhibition catalogue, Reinier Baarsen, Process: Design Drawings from the Rijksmuseum 1500–1900 (Rotterdam: 2022), pp. 456–58.

• Philip Ward-Jackson, Review of the exhibition catalogue, Yvette Deseyve, ed., Johann Gottfried Schadow: Embracing Forms (Hirmer Verlag, 2023), pp. 463–66.

• Thomas P. Campbell, Review of Helen Wyld, The Art of Tapestry (Philip Wilson Publishers, 2022), pp. 472–75.

• Charles Saumarez Smith, Review of András Szántó, Imagining the Future Museum: 21 Dialogues with Architects (Hatje Cantz, 2022), pp. 482–83.

• John Martin Robinson, Review of Dudley Dodd, Stourhead: Henry Hoare’s Paradise Revisited (Head of Zeus, 2021), pp. 484–85.


• Christopher Wood, Obituary for Hans Belting (1935–2023), pp. 486–88.

Performance | Mary Berry’s Fashionable Friends

Posted in opportunities by Editor on April 29, 2023

From The Walpole Library:

Mary Berry’s Fashionable Friends
The Lewis Walpole Library, Farmington, Connecticut, 12–13 May 2023

An entirely new version of the comedy directed and abridged by Laura Engel, Duquesne University

In 1801 Anne Damer, Mary Berry, and Agnes Berry embarked on a remarkable collaboration staging a performance of Berry’s comedy Fashionable Friends as an amateur theatrical production at Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill. Damer and Berry starred in the play as the titular fashionable friends; Damer played the seductive and sly Lady Selina and Berry the sentimental and clever Mrs. Lovell.

• Christopher Collier
• Sadie Crow
• Amy Dick
• Eric Leslie

Seating is limited and advance registration is required.
Friday, May 12, 2.30pm
Friday, May 12, 4.30pm
Saturday, May 13, 2.00pm



Walpole Library Fellowships and Travel Grants for 2023–24

Posted in fellowships by Editor on April 29, 2023

From The Walpole Library:

The Lewis Walpole Library is delighted to announce the recipients of Fellowships and Travel Grants for the upcoming year 2023–24. This year we awarded twelve four-week Fellowships and nine two-week Travel Grants. The Fellowship year runs from 1 June 2023 until 31 May 2024. We look forward to welcoming these twenty-one researchers to Farmington and the Lewis Walpole Library community of scholars.


Zoe Beenstock (University of Haifa), Palestine as America and Ireland: Horace Walpole’s Levant Antiquarianism, Joseph Peter Spang III Fellowship
Tanya Caldwell (Georgia State University), Fashion, Friendship, and the First Lady of Sculpture: Anne Damer and the Imperial Mission
Jennifer Factor (Brandeis University), Intimate Play: Phillis Wheatley Peters and the Art of the Poem Game, ASECS-LWL Fellowship
Stephanie Howard-Smith (King’s College London), Collecting Dogs and Constructing ‘Dogmanity’: Horace Walpole, Wilmarth and Annie Lewis, and the Making of the More-than-Human Family
Nicole Emser Marcel (Temple University), Ordering, Reordering, and Disordering the Land: Visual and Material Strategies of Resistance and Repossession in Contemporary Caribbean Art, George B. Cooper Fellowship
Joanna Marschner (Historic Royal Palaces), Princess Augusta Saxe Gotha: Negotiating Monarchical Ambition and Celebrity in 18th-Century Britain
Allison Muri (University of Saskatchewan), Eliza Haywood’s Covent Garden
Eric Parisot (Flinders University), Inventing Suicide: Representation and Emotion in the Age of Sensibility
Nicola Parsons (University of Sydney), ‘This Heap of Tautology’: Iterative Character and Descriptive Erotics in Harris’s List of Covent Garden Ladies, 1760–1794, Charles. J. Cole Fellowship
Anna Roberts (Johns Hopkins University), Snuff and Snuffboxes in Britain, Ireland, and British North America, c. 1640–1830
Hillary Taylor (University of Cambridge), British Trade, Work, and Travel in Eastern Europe during the Long 18th Century, Roger W. Eddy Fellowship
Lilith Todd (Columbia University), Tending Another: The Rhetoric and Labor of Nursing in the Long 18th Century

Travel Grants

Richard Ansell (University of Leicester), Ann Scafe and Other British Servants in Late 18th-Century Continental Europe
Dominic Bate (Brown University), Pythagorean Visions: Picturing Harmony in British Art, 1719–1753
Gregory Brown (University of Nevada, Las Vegas), Inventing Enlightenment: The Social and Professional History of ´18th-Century Studies’ in the United States and Europe, 1930–1970
Alexander Clayton (University of Michigan), The Living Animal: Animating Nature in the Colonial Menagerie, 1750–1890
David Cowan (University of Cambridge), Horace Walpole, Thomas Gray, and William Mason: Whiggery and the Gothic at Cambridge University
Marie Ferron-Desautels (Concordia University), Women Amateurs Designing Caricatures in 18th-Century Britain
Marlis Schweitzer (York University), Decoding the Lecture on Heads: Performing Objects and Satire on the 18th-Century Stage
Jane Wessel (United States Naval Academy), Theatre and the Extra-Illustrated Book: Participatory Reading and Fandoms in 18th- and 19th-Century England
Jarred Wiehe (Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi), ‘Deformed the Belle and Beau’: Disability Aesthetics, William Hogarth, and the Optics of Deformity

Getty and NPG Jointly Acquire Reynolds’s Portrait of Mai

Posted in museums by Editor on April 28, 2023

From the Getty press release (25 April 2023). . .

Sir Joshua Reynolds, Portrait of Mai (Omai), ca. 1776, oil on canvas, 236 × 146 cm.

The innovative collaboration between the National Portrait Gallery and Getty to jointly acquire Joshua Reynolds’ Portrait of Mai (Omai) has been successful. The National Portrait Gallery has raised £25 million which, thanks in huge part to a grant of £10m from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, an Art Fund grant of £2.5m, together with a matching amount from Getty in the U.S., makes up the £50m needed to acquire the painting.

The National Portrait Gallery and Art Fund’s fundraising campaign has been made possible thanks to an extraordinary collaborative effort, including:
• An exceptional grant of £10m from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, one of its most significant awards for saving a heritage treasure for the UK
• An Art Fund grant of £2.5m, the largest in its history
• Major contributions were also received from The Portrait Fund, the Deborah Loeb Brice Foundation and Julia and Hans Rausing, and support also came from the Idan and Batia Ofer Family Foundation and David & Emma Verey Charitable Trust, as well as many other generous trusts, foundations, and individuals.
• Donations from over 2,000 Art Fund members, National Portrait Gallery supporters and members of the public, giving gifts of all sizes

The shared ownership of the work and strategic partnership between the National Portrait Gallery and Getty is the result of an innovative model of international collaboration that enables and maximizes public access to the work in perpetuity. The two institutions will share the painting for public exhibition, research, and conservation care.

The painting will first be exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery when it reopens on June 22, following a major transformation project and will later will be shown at other institutions across the UK. Mai will travel periodically between the two countries, sharing time equally between them. The first Getty presentation will be in 2026, including the period when Los Angeles hosts the 2028 Olympic Games.

Sir Joshua Reynolds’ spectacular Portrait of Mai (Omai) holds a pivotal place in global art history, depicting the first Polynesian to visit Britain, and is widely regarded as the finest portrait by one of Britain’s greatest artists. Known as ‘Omai’ in England, Mai (ca. 1753–1779) was a native of Raiatea, an island now part of French Polynesia, who traveled from Tahiti to England with Captain James Cook. He spent the years 1774–76 in London, where he was received by royalty and the intellectual elite, and indeed became something of a celebrity. Mai returned to his homeland in 1777 and died there two years later.

Elizabeth Peyton, Omai (Afterlife) after Sir Joshua Reynolds’s Portrait of Omai, 1776, 2023, © Elizabeth Peyton.

The National Portrait Gallery would like to thank the former owners for their co-operation in this process, and Christie’s for their support in the negotiations. Support for the campaign also came from leading artists Sir Antony Gormley, Rebecca Salter and Richard Deacon and historians Simon Schama, David Olusoga, and Simon Sebag-Montefiore. Artist Elizabeth Peyton created a new work, Omai (Afterlife) after Sir Joshua Reynolds’s Portrait of Omai, 1776, 2023, inspired by the portrait.

Dr. Nicholas Cullinan, Director, National Portrait Gallery, said: “Reynolds’ majestic Portrait of Mai is by far the most significant acquisition the National Portrait Gallery has ever made, and the largest acquisition the UK has ever made, along with the Titians acquired by the National Gallery and the National Galleries of Scotland in 2009 and 2012. I would like to thank the 2,000 Art Fund members and National Portrait Gallery supporters across the UK and the National Heritage Memorial Fund and Art Fund for their significant and historic grants as well as the many other generous supporters. This includes major contributions from the Portrait Fund, Deborah Loeb Brice Foundation and Julia and Hans Rausing, and support from the Idan and Batia Ofer Family Foundation and the David and Emma Verey Charitable Trust. Together, you have made such an unprecedented endeavour possible. My thanks also to Getty for having the vision to join us in an innovative strategic partnership to ensure this uniquely important painting enters public ownership for the first time, in Reynolds’ 300th anniversary year, so its beauty can be seen and enjoyed by everyone. Heartfelt thanks too to my wonderful colleagues and everyone who worked night and day to make the impossible possible—they have done something extraordinary for all of us.”

Dr. Timothy Potts, Director of the J. Paul Getty Museum, said: “Joshua Reynolds’ Portrait of Mai is not only one of the greatest masterpieces of British art, but also the most tangible and visually compelling manifestation of Europe’s first encounters with the peoples of the Pacific islands. The opportunity for Getty to partner with the Gallery in acquiring and presenting this work to audiences in Britain and California, and from around the world, represents an innovative model that we hope will encourage others to think creatively about how major works of art can most effectively be shared. The myriad artistic, historical, and cultural issues that Mai’s portrait raises for 21st-century viewers and researchers will be the starting point for a joint research project led by the Gallery and Getty in the years ahead.”

Dr. Simon Thurley CBE, Chair of the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF), said: “I am absolutely delighted that we have reached this pivotal moment in the journey of Mai. It has been an incredible effort of public and private fundraising and I am proud that NHMF has been able to play such a vital role in saving it for the UK thanks to our grant of £10m—40% of the amount that the National Portrait Gallery needed to raise. The grant is one of the most substantial awards we have ever given to save a national treasure, and is befitting of this masterpiece, by one of the UK’s greatest artists, as it embodies such great cultural and historical significance.”

“It is wonderful news that the UK public, as well as a wider international audience thanks to the partnership acquisition, will now be able to enjoy the magnificent work of art, its fascinating story and complex themes. NHMF is a vital source of funding for our most important heritage at risk, so it is incredibly exciting that we are able to support the National Portrait Gallery to acquire Mai, to be on display for all to see. We are also delighted that Mai will later embark on a tour allowing visitors from across the UK to marvel at its greatness and explore its heritage.”

Lord Smith of Finsbury, Chairman, Art Fund, said: “When an exceptional work of art comes up for sale, Art Fund stands ready to help museums in the UK bring the work into a public collection, for everyone to enjoy. Joshua Reynolds’ Portrait of Mai (Omai) is just such a painting, and it’s a tribute to the National Portrait Gallery and Getty’s innovative shared ownership model that the painting will now be publicly accessible, forever. Art Fund is delighted to have awarded a grant of £2.5 million—the largest in our 120 year history—and grateful to the incredible generosity of over 2,000 Art Fund members, National Portrait Gallery supporters, individuals and trusts who swiftly gave to our appeal. We also thank the trustees of the National Heritage Memorial Fund for their significant support towards this acquisition, a powerful statement of the importance of bringing this work of art into public view in the UK. The collective effort to save this painting has been remarkable.”

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay, Arts & Heritage Minister, said: “I would like to congratulate the National Portrait Gallery and Getty on their fantastic efforts to make this joint acquisition possible and secure this wonderful painting. Thanks to their work and the export bar process, it will now be able to be enjoyed by people across the country for generations to come.”

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair of Arts Council England, said: “The Arts Council is proud to have supported the recommendation of the Reviewing Committee that this outstanding work of art should continue to be available to the public in the UK. The collaboration between the National Portrait Gallery and Getty will mean that it will be seen in an international context, while also ensuring that we diversify the national collection and open opportunities for research and learning about our national history and culture.”

Sir John Leighton, Director-General, National Galleries of Scotland, said: “There are many great works of art associated with this country and its history but surely only a small number that can be described as truly extraordinary. The Reynolds Portrait of Mai (Omai) belongs in this category and now, thanks to an inspiring and enlightened partnership between the National Portrait Gallery and Getty, a very wide national and international audience will be able to enjoy this superb painting. This is wonderful news and a cause for real celebration.”

Victoria Pomery, Chief Executive Officer, The Box, Plymouth said: “I am thrilled to hear that Reynolds’ Portrait of Mai (Omai) has been acquired in this the 300th anniversary year of the artist’s birth. Plymouth has a long association with Reynolds who was born in Plympton, now part of the modern city, in 1723. Indeed, Reynolds’ first studio was located in Devonport, Plymouth. We are delighted that this important portrait will be shared to places such as The Box enabling further conversations and discussions on Empire, representation and place and for audiences in the south west and across the country to see and understand more about this painting.”

New Book | This Is America

Posted in books by Editor on April 27, 2023

From Oxford UP:

Keri Watson and Keidra Daniels Navaroli, This Is America: Re-Viewing the Art of the United States (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2023), 416 Pages, ISBN: 978-0190084882, $100.

Book coverThis Is America: Re-Viewing the Art of the United States is a new, inclusive introduction to American visual culture from early history to the present. Reimagining the traditional survey of American art, the book provides expanded coverage of underrepresented stories through the inclusion of marginalized makers, diverse media, and vast geographic regions. Accessible to students with no background in art history, This Is America offers links between recent works of art and the rich cultural history of each major era with succinct and illuminating analysis of key contemporary works in ‘Contemporary Connections’ boxes. By combining close visual and historical analyses with discussion of how works of art operated within specific cultural contexts and for us today, this publication prioritizes art’s critical role in social discourse.

Keri Watson is Associate Professor of Art History at University of Central Florida. Keidra Daniels Navaroli is a McKnight Doctoral Fellow in the Texts and Technology Program at University of Central Florida.



1  Constructing Indigenous America
Early America: Mound Builder Cultures
Adena Culture
Hopewell Culture
Art of the Pacific Northwest
Old Bering Sea Culture
The Tlingit and Haida Cultures of the Northwest Coast
Art and Architecture of the Southwest
The Hohokam Culture
The Mimbres Culture
Art of the Caribbean Taíno

2  Colonial Disruptions: Un/Making a ‘New World’
Constructing and Circulating Images of the Other
In Search of Spices
In Search of Gold
Labor and Luxury
Forced Labor, Conquest, and Colonization
Power and Portraiture
Building the ‘New World’
New Spain
New England and New Netherland
New France

3  Establishing an Anglo American Nation: Art during the Federal Period
Visualizing Revolution
The War of the Conquest
The Sons of Liberty
Picturing America and Americans
Framing the Other
Establishing a National Iconography
Building American Institutions
Staging Rebellion
The Myth of Benevolence

4  The Nineteenth Century: Westward Expansion and Indian Removal
Remaking the Nation
Florida and the American South
The Trans-Mississippi West
Portraying Native Bodies
From ‘Noble Savage’ to ‘Vanishing Race’
Fashioning the Self: Native Subjects Speak Back
Imagining the West
Survey Paintings and Photography
‘Cowboys and Indians’

5  The Nineteenth Century: Stitching Together a New Body Politic
Painting Scenes of Everyday Life
Americans at Work and at Home
Prints and Patrons
Performing the Other
Mythologizing the Past
Art, Literature, and the Penny Press
The Mexican American War
The Civil War
Go West!
Race, Art, and Activism
Representing Slavery and Freedom
Images of Reconstruction

6  The Nineteenth Century: Reshaping the Landscape
Rural Cemeteries and Public Parks
Philadelphia: Athens of America
The American Sublime
Plantation Portraits
American Impressionism
The End of Landscape Painting

7  From the Gilded Age to the Progressive Era: Picturing Gender, Race, and Class
Exhibiting Wealth and Class in the Gilded Age
Portraits and Power
Building the Gilded Age
Globalism and Imperialism at World’s Fairs
Scientific Racism and the Centennial International Exposition of 1876
Women, Race, and the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893
The War of 1898 and the Louisiana Purchase Exposition
Picturing Gender, Race, and Class in the Progressive Era
How the Other Half Lives
Out of the Ash Can

8  The Multiple Modernisms of the Interwar Period
The New Negro Movement
The Jazz Age
Sculpting the Harlem Renaissance
Stieglitz, Precisionism, and Surrealism
The Stieglitz Circle
Capturing the Machine Age
Surrealism in the Americas
Pueblo Artists and the Taos School
Regionalism and the American Scene
American Regionalism
Painting the American Scene

9  Depression and Recovery: The New Deal, World War II, and the Post-War Boom
The New Deal
Public Works of Art
Social Realism
The Art of War
Representing War
Illustrating Internment
Mythmaking: Postwar Abstraction
Abstract Expressionism
Color Field Painting
‘Out in the World’: Found Objects, Funk, and Pop

10  Challenging the Past and Imagining the Future
Art and/as Activism
The Black Arts Movement
The Feminist Arts Movement
The Chicano Arts Movement
Disability Rights
The Gay Rights Movement
Art in the Expanded Sphere
Minimalism, Conceptualism, and Earth Art
Faith and Reason
Neo-Expressionism and Afro-Futurism

Key Terms

New Book | The Rediscovery of America

Posted in books by Editor on April 27, 2023

From Yale UP:

Ned Blackhawk, The Rediscovery of America: Native Peoples and the Unmaking of U.S. History (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2023), 616 pages, ISBN: 978-0300244052, $35.

A sweeping and overdue retelling of U.S. history that recognizes that Native Americans are essential to understanding the evolution of modern America

The most enduring feature of U.S. history is the presence of Native Americans, yet most histories focus on Europeans and their descendants. This long practice of ignoring Indigenous history is changing, however, with a new generation of scholars insists that any full American history address the struggle, survival, and resurgence of American Indian nations. Indigenous history is essential to understanding the evolution of modern America. Ned Blackhawk interweaves five centuries of Native and non‑Native histories, from Spanish colonial exploration to the rise of Native American self-determination in the late twentieth century. In this transformative synthesis he shows that
• European colonization in the 1600s was never a predetermined success
• Native nations helped shape England’s crisis of empire
• The first shots of the American Revolution were prompted by Indian affairs in the interior
• California Indians targeted by federally funded militias were among the first casualties of the Civil War
• The Union victory forever recalibrated Native communities across the West
• Twentieth-century reservation activists refashioned American law and policy

Blackhawk’s retelling of U.S. history acknowledges the enduring power, agency, and survival of Indigenous peoples, yielding a truer account of the United States and revealing anew the varied meanings of America.

Ned Blackhawk (Western Shoshone) is the Howard R. Lamar Professor of History and American Studies at Yale University, where he is the faculty coordinator for the Yale Group for the Study of Native America. He is the author of Violence over the Land: Indians and Empires in the Early American West.


List of Maps

Introduction: Toward a New American History

Part I | Indians and Empire
1  American Genesis: Indians and the Spanish Borderlands
2  The Native Northeast and the Rise of British North America
3  The Unpredictability of Violence: Iroquoia and New France to 1701
4  The Native Inland Sea: The Struggle for the Heart of the Continent, 1701–55
5  Settler Uprising: The Indigenous Origins of the American Revolution
6  Colonialism’s Constitution: The Origins of Federal Indian Policy

Part II | Struggles for Sovereignty
7  The Deluge of Settler Colonialism: Democracy and Dispossession in the Early Republic
8  Foreign Policy Formations: California, the Pacific, and the Borderlands Origins of the Monroe Doctrine
9  Collapse and Total War: The Indigenous West and the U.S. Civil War
10  Taking Children and Treaty Lands: Laws and Federal Power during the Reservation Era
11  Indigenous Twilight at the Dawn of the Century: Native Activists and the Myth of Indian Disappearance
12  From Termination to Self-Determination: Native American Sovereignty in the Cold War Era


Opinion | Patricia Marroquin Norby on Nuance and Repatriation

Posted in museums, opinion pages by Editor on April 26, 2023

2021–22 entrance to The Met’s long-term exhibition Art of Native America: The Charles and Valerie Diker Collection.

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From Hyperallergic:

Patricia Marroquin Norby, “We Need More Nuance When Talking about Repatriation,” Hyperallergic (19 April 2023). Norby, the Met Museum’s curator of Native American Art, reflects on the lesser-discussed everyday challenges of repatriation work.

. . . The Met and I were both keenly aware that my appointment [as its first curator for Native American Art three years ago] was a milestone moment for the museum and the field. This curatorial position came about because of the promised gift of a prominent Native American collection of works from Charles and Valerie Diker. It’s a collection that had already been well-researched and exhibited at numerous institutions nationwide including the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, the Seattle Art Museum, and the Amon Carter Museum of American Art. The gift and landmark curatorial role propelled significant changes at The Met, specifically, foregrounding the voices of Native peoples and presenting their historical and contemporary creative expressions to an international audience in a world-class institution. More important, but less visible to the public, were the much-needed collaborations with Native American source communities regarding the items currently in The Met’s care.

As the museum began exhibiting Native American collections in its American Wing for the first time, we also began working more collaboratively with source communities as exhibition advisors, co-curators, authors, and installation contributors. We listened. We learned. We are still learning.

Native American and Indigenous museum collections necessitate a commitment to long-term relationships with source communities. These relationships have provided some of the most meaningful experiences of my career. When I joined The Met, I emphasized the importance of meeting the needs of Native American communities. I worked to prioritize Indigenous voices in our exhibitions, programs, and collections care. As a woman of Purépecha descent, I understand feeling marginalized. I also understand the simultaneous sense of connection and loss toward items that embody cultural ties to my maternal ancestral community on view in museums. Such experiences are magnified in a historically colonial institution like The Met. . . .

As connections with source communities grew, some colleagues shared their surprise at how repatriation attitudes regarding specific items can differ. Some tribes seek repatriation, while others favor a co-stewardship approach or prefer that works remain at the museum. Community needs are diverse, yet very specific. One commonality across communities and cultures is the desire for a say in how and if works are publicly presented, and how they are cared for. The founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC, Richard West Jr., said it best: Indians love and hate museums because “they have our stuff.” For many Indigenous peoples, museums can awaken inner tensions and traumatic histories. For Indigenous museum professionals, these painful pasts are always present. . . .

The full essay is available here»


Lecture | Forgeries, Replicas, and Native American Art

Posted in books, lectures (to attend) by Editor on April 26, 2023

‘Mato-tope’s Shirt’, likely made by George Catlin (Washington, DC: National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, NMNHanthropology 8420507). More information is available here»

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From the Bard Graduate Center:

Janet Catherine Berlo | Not Native American Art? Forgeries, Replicas and Other Vexed Identities
Bard Graduate Center, New York, 3 May 2023, 6.00pm

In Native North American artistic traditions, what is a replica? What constitutes a copy? In contrast with the larger field of art history, there is almost no literature on forgeries and replicas in this sub-field. Join us for Janet Catherine Berlo’s lecture, adapted from the introduction to her forthcoming book, Not Native American Art, where she considers notions of replicas, copies, tributes, forgeries, pastiches, and even digital surrogates as they apply to archaeological, historical, and contemporary Native arts of North America.

Register here»

Janet Catherine Berlo, professor of art history and visual and cultural studies emerita at the University of Rochester, holds a PhD in the history of art from Yale University. She is the author of many publications on the Indigenous arts of the Americas, including the most widely-used textbook in the field, Native North American Art, with Ruth B. Phillips (Oxford, second edition 2015). Berlo has also written on American art history and quilt history. Her forthcoming book, Not Native American Art: Fakes, Replicas, and Invented Traditions will be published by the University of Washington Press in July 2023.

New Book | Native American Art from the Weisel Collection

Posted in books, museums by Editor on April 26, 2023

From the FAMSF press release for the catalogue, co-published with DelMonico Books:

Bruce Bernstein, Hillary C. Olcott, Christina Hellmich, Deana Dartt, and Jill D’Alessandro, eds., Native American Art from the Thomas W. Weisel Family Collection (New York: DelMonico Books, 2023), 432 pages, ISBN: 978-1636810966, $85.

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco are pleased to announce the publication of Native American Art: From the Thomas W. Weisel Family Collection, co-published with DelMonico Books, and co-edited by Bruce Bernstein, Hillary C. Olcott, Christina Hellmich, and Deana Dartt with Jill D’Alessandro. The expansive 432-page catalogue celebrates a transformative gift to the Museums that spans nearly one thousand years of artistic creativity by Native American artists.

The volume brings together 206 works of art, exemplifying the exquisite artistry and rich cultural histories represented therein. Highlights of objects researched and presented in the book include 19th-century Diné/Navajo weavings, Ancestral and historic Pueblo pottery, Hopi and Zuni carved figures, and Yavapai and Apache basketry, as well as works from the Pacific Northwest and the Plains. Developed in collaboration with cultural advisors, including Joseph R. Aguilar (San Ildefonso), Stewart B. Koyiyumptewa (Hopi), Arden Kucate (Zuni), Christopher Toya (Jemez) and Brian Vallo (Acoma), the catalogue reflects the complex and multilayered nature of the works in the collection and, more broadly, the field of Native American art.

“The publication of Native American Art has been a monumental, five-year undertaking for the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco,” said Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of FAMSF. “Our team has worked directly with communities of origin represented in the collection, cultural practitioners, artists, art historians, and museum professionals to share different perspectives on the objects in this collection. We are enormously proud of this collaboration and grateful to each of our authors and advisors for the care they have extended to this project and the knowledge they have shared with us.”

Building upon the Fine Arts Museums’ first publication on the Thomas W. Weisel Family Collection, Lines on the Horizon (2014), Native American Art is an expanded scholarly catalogue that features new research, 30 specially commissioned essays, and 100 extended captions. Contributions by more than 80 authors from different disciplines and cultural backgrounds illuminate details about the living histories of the works. The multitude of perspectives and voices offered here embraces the complexity of the dialogue surrounding Native works past and present, ensuring that Native American Art will be a cornerstone publication in the field of Native American art history.

“The gift of the Thomas W. Weisel Family Collection of Native American Art to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco provided the extraordinary opportunity for an open-ended, two-year-long conversation between the Museums and Native communities about the display, imaging, care, and disposition of our Ancestral pottery.” write Joseph R. Aguilar, Stewart B. Koyiyumptewa, Arden Kucate, Christopher Toya and Brian Vallo in their introduction. The results of the dialogue are in this catalogue, including a culturally sensitive approach to reproducing Ancestral pottery images. Every pot was individually considered, most generating lively discussions, and others soliciting respectful silence. The work we have been doing together has been an opportunity to learn from one another.”

Among the important scholarly innovations in Native American Art is the representation of Mimbres bowls and other Ancestral Pueblo pottery forms. Working closely with cultural advisors from five Pueblo communities, the editors and advisory group developed three representative styles for the Mimbres bowls and other Ancestral pottery reproduced in the catalogue. A screen of gold dots takes the place of objects that are culturally sensitive; while drawings made by Acoma artist Michelle Lowden represent bowls that were determined to be from burial contexts but do not feature culturally sensitive imagery. Photography is used when objects are not culturally sensitive.

The catalogue was designed by James Brendan Williams of The Common Era.

A free, public launch event celebrating Native American Art was held Saturday, April 22 at the de Young’s Koret Auditorium. The program included an introduction by volume co-editor Deana Dartt (Coastal Band, Chumash), followed by presentations about Ancestral and historic Pueblo pottery by project contributors Bobby Silas (Hopi-Tewa) and Deborah A. Jojola (Isleta/Jemez Pueblo). The program concluded with a panel discussion between members of the book’s Pueblo Advisors group, Governor Arden Kucate (Zuni), Brian Vallo (Acoma), and Joseph R. Aguilar (San Ildefonso), with volume co-editor Bruce Bernstein.

New Book | Under the Skin

Posted in books by Editor on April 25, 2023

From Penn Press:

Mairin Odle, Under the Skin: Tattoos, Scalps, and the Contested Language of Bodies in Early America (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2022), 176 pages, ISBN: ‎978-1512823165, $40.

Under the Skin investigates the role of cross-cultural body modification in seventeenth-century and eighteenth-century North America, revealing that the practices of tattooing and scalping were crucial to interactions between Natives and newcomers. These permanent and painful marks could act as signs of alliance or signs of conflict, producing a complex bodily archive of cross-cultural entanglement.

Indigenous body modification practices were adopted and transformed by colonial powers, making tattooing and scalping key forms of cultural and political contestation in early America. Although these bodily practices were quite distinct―one a painful but generally voluntary sign of accomplishment and affiliation, the other a violent assault on life and identity―they were linked by growing colonial perceptions that both were crucial elements of ‘Nativeness’. Tracing the transformation of concepts of bodily integrity, personal and collective identities, and the sources of human difference, Under the Skin investigates both the lived physical experience and the contested metaphorical power of early American bodies.

Struggling for power on battlefields, in diplomatic gatherings, and in intellectual exchanges, Native Americans and Anglo-Americans found their physical appearances dramatically altered by their interactions with one another. Contested ideas about the nature of human and societal difference translated into altered appearances for many early Americans. In turn, scars and symbols on skin prompted an outpouring of stories as people debated the meaning of such marks. Perhaps paradoxically, individuals with culturally ambiguous or hybrid appearances prompted increasing efforts to insist on permanent bodily identity. By the late eighteenth century, ideas about the body, phenotype, and culture were increasingly articulated in concepts of race. Yet even as the interpretations assigned to inscribed flesh shifted, fascination with marked bodies remained.

Mairin Odle is Assistant Professor of American Studies at the University of Alabama.


Introduction: Stories Written on the Body
1  Pownced, Pricked, or Paynted: Colonial Interpretations, Indigenous Tattoos
2  The ‘Ill Effects of It’: Reading and Rewriting the Cross-Cultural Tattoo
3  Pricing the Part: Economies of Violence and Stories of Scalps
4  Playing Possum: Scalping Survivors and Embodied Memory
Epilogue: Narrative Legacies and Settler Appropriations


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