Covering basketry, musical instruments, wood carving, quilting, pottery, boatbuilding, blacksmithing, architecture, and graveyard decoration, John Vlach seeks to trace and substantiate African influences in the traditional arts and crafts of black Americans. It is a widespread tradition, he observes, readily visible in areas such as the coastal regions of South Carolina and Georgia but discernible as well in places far to the west and north. With the aid of more than two hundred photographs and numerous maps, diagrams, and drawings, Vlach not only examines the form and content of the artifacts and structures but also relates them to the complex cultural context from which they sprang--the interwoven strands of African and European influence.Originally published in 1978 as the catalog to a major exhibit by the Cleveland Museum of Art, this book was among the first to describe and analyze the achievements of African American artisans. It is now recognized as a landmark work, the standard in its field, and is widely used by historians, folklorists, anthropologists, and sociologists.
For the first time in its 40-year history, the American Folk Art Museum is able to present a significant selection of masterworks from its renowned collection, including major new acquisitions. American Anthem, which accompanies the show, is a chronological consideration of American folk art from the colonial period to the present. Unlike past surveys, the artworks will not be arranged by medium or theme, but rather through contextual settings in a visually powerful mix of materials, demonstrating the aesthetic ideas that were commonly held in a particular period and that received different interpretations across mediums. For example, the imposing portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds, attributed to early Connecticut artist Reuben Moulthrop, will be considered along with a stunning late-18th century bed rug and superb examples of painted furniture of the period. Approximately one-third of the volume will be devoted to self-taught artists of the 20th century, placing this artistically and culturally diverse field in an historical continuum with traditional folk art for the first time. In every period, past and present, American folk artists have responded to common impulses: patriotism
Of all the artifacts from the history of medicine, the Anatomical Venus--with its heady mixture of beauty, eroticism and death--is the most seductive. These life-sized dissectible wax women reclining on moth-eaten velvet cushions--with glass eyes, strings of pearls, and golden tiaras crowning their real human hair--were created in eighteenth-century Florence as the centerpiece of the first truly public science museum. Conceived as a means to teach human anatomy, the Venus also tacitly communicated the relationship between the human body and a divinely created cosmos; between art and science, nature and mankind. Today, she both intrigues and confounds, troubling our neat categorical divides between life and death, body and soul, effigy and pedagogy, entertainment and education, kitsch and art. The first book of its kind, The Anatomical Venus, by Morbid Anatomy Museum cofounder Joanna Ebenstein, features over 250 images--many never before published--gathered by its author from around the world. Its extensively researched text explores the Anatomical Venus within her historical and cultural context in order to reveal the shifting attitudes toward death and the body that today render such spectacles strange. It reflects on connections between death and wax, the tradition of life-sized simulacra and preserved beautiful women, the phenomenon of women in glass boxes in fairground displays, and ideas of the ecstatic, the sublime and the uncanny.
Joanna Ebenstein is a multidisciplinary artist, curator, writer, lecturer and graphic designer. She originated the Morbid Anatomy blog and website, and is cofounder (with Tracy Hurley Martin) and creative director of the Morbid Anatomy Museum in Brooklyn, New York. She is coauthor of Walter Potter's Curious World of Taxidermy, with Dr. Pat Morris; coeditor of The Morbid Anatomy Anthology, with Colin Dickey; and acted as curatorial consultant to Wellcome Collection's Exquisite Bodies exhibition in 2009. She has also worked with such institutions as the New York Academy of Medicine, the Dittrick Museum and the Vrolik Museum.--Bria Smith "Milk"
This beautifully designed and illustrated catalogue presents the 218 gifts of Chinese art from Ruth and Bruce Dayton to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Ranging in date from the Shang to the Qing, these objects were carefully chosen to form a high-quality and well-balanced collection that encompasses all classical Chinese traditions. They include ancient metalwork, Buddhist arts, lacquer, ceramics, painting and calligraphy, classical furniture and literati objects. Among the highlights are a Warring States inlaid bronze chariot fitting, a large Han bronze horse and a Han bronze money tree, a Song wooden Buddhist sculpture, Ming sutras and Taoist paintings, Sino-Tibetan Buddhist arts, outstanding lacquerwares of the Han, Song, Yuan, and Ming dynasties, Song, Yuan and Ming paintings in the literati tradition, Ming hardwood furniture, and a variety of scholar's objects.
Baskets made of baleen, the fibrous substance found in the mouths of plankton-eating whales--a malleable and durable material that once had commercial uses equivalent to those of plastics today--were first created by Alaska Natives in the early years of the twentieth century. Because they were made for the tourist trade, they were initially disdained by scholars and collectors, but today they have joined other art forms as a highly prized symbol of native identity. Baskets of exquisite workmanship, often topped with fanciful ivory carvings, have been created for almost a century, contributing significantly to the livelihood of their makers in the Arctic villages of Barrow, Point Hope, Wainwright, and Point Lay, Alaska.
Baleen Basketry of the North Alaskan Eskimo, originally published in 1983, was the first book on this unusual basket form. In this completely redesigned edition, it remains the most informative work on baleen baskets, covering their history, characteristics, and construction, as well as profiling their makers. Illustrations of the basketmakers at work and line drawings showing the methods of construction are a charming addition to this book, which belongs in the library of all those with an interest in the art of basketry and in Alaskan Native arts in general.
The story of the American Quilt Trail, featuring the colorful patterns of quilt squares painted large on barns throughout North America, is the story of one of the fastest-growing grassroots public arts movements in the United States and Canada. In Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail Movement Suzi Parron takes us to twenty-five states as well as Canada to visit the people and places that have put this movement on America's tourist and folk art map.
Through dozens of interviews with barn quilt artists, committee members, and barn owners, Parron documents a journey that began in 2001 with the founder of the movement, Donna Sue Groves. Groves's desire to honor her mother with a quilt square painted on their barn became a group effort that eventually grew into a county-wide project. Today, quilt squares form a long imaginary clothesline, appearing on more than three thousand barns scattered along one hundred and twenty driving trails.
With more than eighty full-color photographs, Parron documents here a movement that combines rural economic development with an American folk art phenomenon.
A book that celebrates one of the most breathtaking and comprehensive collections of wildfowl decoys in America. Bird decoys were used for hunting in North America until the advent of hunting regulations in the early twentieth century, when decoys started to be prized and collected as masterpieces of American folk art. This handsome book is the first examination of the historic and unparalleled decoy collection at Shelburne Museum. Featuring new photography of 250 of the museum's most important and artistically carved decoys, it includes examples made by the most respected American carvers: Charles Osgood, Lem and Steve Ward, John Blair, Bill Bowman, Nathan Cobb, Jr., Lee Dudley, James Holly, Jr., Nathan Horner, Albert Laing, Joseph Lincoln, A. Elmer Crowell, and Charles "Shang" Wheeler. The story of the collection begins with Joel Barber, the pioneer decoy enthusiast and New York architect, artist, and carver, whose gift of 400 superior examples established the collection in 1952. Several essays provide groundbreaking scholarship on the origins, construction, and attribution of bird decoys, imparting critical advancements to our modern understanding of this revered tradition.