Early Years of Native American Art History: The Politics of Scholarship and Collecting

Early Years of Native American Art History: The Politics of Scholarship and Collecting

by Janet Catherine Berlo

Hardcover(New Edition)



The field of Native American art history, and our idea of what comprises Indian art itself, were molded largely by policies of the museums and institutions that established their ethnological collections in the second half of the nineteenth century.

Objects housed in the great natural history museums—collected and seen first as natural history specimens and later as “primitive art”—have long been considered to be normative Native American art, rather than as representative of a long and changing history, and collectors’ biases against Euro-American influenced work, tourist items, and contemporary art have further distorted our understanding of the field. Such attitudes and practices have led to accusations that an imperialistic Native American art history not only developed but maintains, the fictions of a colonizer/colonized relationship.

This collection of essays deals with the development of Native American art history as a discipline rather than with particular art works or artists. It focuses on the early anthropologist, museum curators, dealers, and collectors, and on the multiple levels of understanding and misunderstanding, appropriation and reappropriation, that characterized their transactions. The essays examine major figures, art forms, institutions, and events of the early years when native American artworks were first collected, studied, and displayed

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780774804332
Publisher: University of British Columbia Press
Publication date: 01/28/1992
Series: McLellan Endowed Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

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