Category Archives: Collector’s Corner

EVEN AFTER I AM DEAD: The Graphic Art of Pitseolak Ashoona

Known simply by her first name to curators and collectors worldwide, Pitseolak Ashoona typifies the first generation of Inuit artists: she had been born on the land; had lived nomadically for many years; and only became an artist late in her life.  Born in 1904, Pitseolak spent her childhood moving from camp to camp.  She […]

I: Rick Bartow’s Self-Portraits

Over the centuries numerous artists have produced likenesses of themselves in paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, and photographs.  A self-portrait affords an artist the opportunity to control how he or she wishes to be remembered through a work that might be serious, introspective, comic, or even self-deprecating.  Some artists create numerous self-portraits over the course of […]

VISSI D’ARTE: Native American Opera Singers

Since childhood, opera has been a part of my life thanks to my maternal grandmother with whom I spent a great deal of time.  While she cooked, she would often sing (off-key) “Un bel di“ from Madama Butterfly or “Celeste Aida” (even more off-key) from Aida.  Nanny would also tell me the tragic love stories […]

TEN TO ONE: The Mentors of My Collection

Over the course of more than thirty years, my collection came to encompass baskets, beadwork, textiles, masks, headdresses, katsinas, jewelry, pottery and works on paper.  Eventually, for various reasons, there were areas in which I no longer collected and, in recent years, my interest narrowed to three collecting spheres: contemporary Native American ceramics, Inuit works […]

UNSUNG: The Graphic Art of Meelia Kelly

Among collectors and even curators when Inuit works on paper are acquired or presented the focus is most often on the “Big Names” such as Kanojuak Ashevak, Pitseolak Ashoona, Kananginak Pootoogook, Annie Pootoogook, and, more recently, Shuvinai Ashoona.  However, there is much more to the story of Inuit graphic art.  Many artists did not get […]

LIGHTS! CAMERA! ACTION! Native Americans in the Silent Movie Era

When the public thinks of Hollywood actors and actresses, my guess is that Indigenous Americans don’t readily come to mind. That is unfortunate since Native people have been a part of the movie industry since its earliest days.  In the first decades of the 20th century, mainstream American audiences were so fascinated with the West […]

A RICK BARTOW MYSTERY: Untitled (Japanese Raven)

One of the joys of being a collector is discovering a work of art that you think is not only visually spectacular but intellectually fascinating as well.  During more than thirty years of collecting, I have been extremely fortunate to have encountered quite a number of such works.  Most recently, I was struck by Rick […]

OVERSIZED: Large Scale Works on Paper by Cape Dorset Artists

When people refer to the early days of Cape Dorset graphic art the time period which they mean is the 1960s.  In that era, the prints and drawings the community produced were generally of small dimensions, though there were exceptions.  For prints, sizes were generally 8.5” x 11.25,” 12” x 10,” with many being in […]

FROM HEART AND HAND: The Creation of Juan de la Cruz’s Stone Mountain Lion Jar

I have admired Juan de la Cruz’s ceramic vessels for a number of years, but I had been unable to acquire one until recently for one simple reason: they sell like proverbial hotcakes.  As soon as they appear on the King Galleries website, collectors snatch them up.  I was never fast enough.  Finally, I inquired […]

A BARTOW BESTIARY: The Animal Kingdom in Rick Bartow’s Works on Paper

Since ancient times and across cultures, animals have often been used to represent human characteristics in art and literature.  From Aesop’s Fables, The Fables of La Fontaine, countless children’s stories, and George Orwell’s dark tale Animal Farm, animals have been used by artists as stand-ins for humans and all their vices and follies.  Sometimes they […]

POLAR OPPOSITES: Selecting Prints from the 2020 Cape Dorset Annual Print Collection

To say that I have eclectic tastes would be an understatement.  Some might claim that my movement from one end of the artistic spectrum to the other could best be described as unpredictable.  That certainly was the case with my choices from the 2020 Cape Dorset Annual Print Collection.  The two works I chose could […]

THE LOST LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS: Floral Imagery in Rick Bartow’s Works on Paper

Flowers speak to us in many ways; they have a language all their own.  For thousands of years, meanings have been associated with various flowers.  They were used as symbols in the Old Testament, in noble coats of arms as well as in Shakespeare’s plays.  Known as floriography, the language of flowers peaked during the […]

A PENCHANT FOR POTTERY: Collecting Native American Ceramic Art

Like so many others before me, I had no intention of becoming a collector when I first started acquiring works of art more than thirty years ago.  I was simply buying whatever I found beautiful to decorate my home.  In those days, the focus was on pottery, in particular pieces from Acoma Pueblo.  It took […]

CLOTHES FOR A POST COLUMBIAN WORLD: Jaune Quick-to-See’s Paper Dolls Series

Simply put, a paper doll is a printed or painted paper figure, which has an accompanying paper wardrobe.  Often, this two-dimensional creation and its array of outfits were meant to be cut out.  As early as the mid-1700s, paper dolls were being produced in London, Paris, Berlin and Vienna, all considered fashion centers of the […]

A FISH TALE, PART II: More on Rick Bartow’s Autumnal Metaphor Series

Although there are seventeen works in Rick Bartow’s Autumnal Metaphor Series, certain pieces speak to me more than others.  Among the images of flowers, birds, dogs, and a bear, it was those employing the likenesses of salmon and human-headed fish that most spoke to me.  I have no idea why this is so. Bartow used […]

A FISH TALE, PART I: Rick Bartow’s Autumnal Metaphor Series

A few months ago I saw Rick Bartow’s Autumnal Metaphor 9, Salmon (red fin) on the Froelick Gallery website and emailed Wilder Schmaltz, Assistant Director of the gallery, for some additional images and information.  I learned that the piece is part of a series of seventeen works, which piqued my interest.  Salmon,  human-headed fish, flowers, […]

REMEMBRANCE OF ACQUISITIONS PAST: How the Work of Rick Bartow Entered My Collection

As a collector, I have very few regrets.  One of my biggest, however, is never having met Rick Bartow.  From the very first time I encountered the artist’s work in 2003 as part of Continuum: 12 Artists at the National Museum of the American Indian in Manhattan I knew that I was seeing something important.  […]

NORTH FACE: Portraiture in Contemporary Inuit Works on Paper

For many collectors, museum-goers and even curators the term “Inuit works on paper” conjures up images of iconic Arctic wildlife isolated on a page and scenes of life as it was once lived on the land.  These two categories, of course, make up a large portion of Inuit artists’ output.  However, there is much more.  […]

ART ON WHEELS: Six Works from Drawing While Driving

Collectors never know when the chance to acquire a wonderful work of art will present itself.   It is one of the most exciting aspects of collecting.  Most collectors probably rely on galleries, but for those who collect the work of contemporary Native American artists there are a variety of other possibilities available such as the […]

MY ONE AND ONLY: Making a Selection from the 2019 Cape Dorset Annual Print Collection

For those of us who collect Inuit works on paper, October is a very exciting time since each year this is when more than thirty prints are released as part of the Cape Dorset Annual Print Collection.  More than any other Canadian Arctic community, Cape Dorset has consistently been able to attract and maintain a […]

MAKING MARKS; TELLING STORIES: Rick Bartow’s Small-Scale Prints

It is no secret that I am a great admirer of the work of Rick Bartow, especially his drypoint etchings and other small-scale prints, so much so that my collection contains thirty-seven works on paper by the artist – thirty drypoint etchings, four lithographs, two mixed media works, and one carborundum print.  Bartow’s drypoint etchings […]

AN ARCTIC BESTIARY: Animals in Inuit Prints and Drawings

When most people think of Arctic wildlife polar bears, seals, and, perhaps, whales most likely come to mind.  However, many more animals call the vast northern wilderness home and thousands of others migrate there during the warmer months.  The arrival of the sun after the long Arctic winter heralds a time of plenty for both […]

CATS – NOW AND FOREVER! Felines in the Work of T. C. Cannon and Terran Last Gun

“With Cats, some say, one rule is true: Don’t speak till you are spoken to.” T.S. Eliot, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats Just about anyone who knows me is aware of my affinity for cats.  If I see one, I can’t resist talking to it and petting it.  There are quite a number of […]

TERRA ARCTICA: The Landscape in Inuit Art

In the popular imagination, the Arctic is a vast, flat, monochromatic landscape, which is always covered in snow.  The truth is far different.  Depending on the season, the land may be white, shades of brown, or multicolored from a profusion of flowers.  Spring, summer, autumn, and winter bring with them a diversity of light, which […]

FACES: Portraiture in Contemporary Native American Works on Paper

When most people think of Native American art, they probably don’t think of portraiture.  Nonetheless, it does exist.  The people represented are often anonymous, but there is a large and growing body of work in which the subjects are identified.  The purpose for creating portraits and self-portraits is to preserve the image of a particular […]

GIFTS FROM CLAY MOTHER: Native American Ceramic Art

More than thirty years ago I started a collection though I had no idea that I was doing so.  During that period there were a number of gallery exhibits in Manhattan that focused on Pueblo pottery, including a gallery in Greenwich Village called Common Ground that specialized in Native American art.  It was there that […]

JUST BELOW THE SURFACE: Life on the Oregon Coast Before Westward Expansion

The Oregon Coast is rugged and visually stunning.  It is also rich in history, though much of it lies just below the surface of what the average visitor sees. There are tantalizing clues, however, in place names such as Clatsop, Nehalem, Tilamook, Coos Bay, Yachats, and Coquile, all of which are taken from Native American […]


For those who are not Native American it may be difficult to understand why those who are, particularly Pueblo people, remain passionate about the Pueblo Revolt of 1680.  While for non-Natives this historical event is thought of as ancient history, for Native Americans it is an open wound – a reminder that their independence and […]


Most often inspired by an idea, Shan Goshorn worked in a variety of media, but her social commentary baskets became her signature work.  Much sought after by collectors, these striking and thought provoking creations employ a diverse range of Cherokee basket forms and weaving patterns.  However, rather than using traditional white or river cane splints, […]

ACROSS CENTURIES AND CULTURES: An Inuit Artist at the Brooklyn Museum

Discovering what inspires an artist is always fascinating.  When Padloo Samayualie was in New York in 2015 for the first Cape Dorset Legacy Project, a creative residency at the Brooklyn Museum, I had the privilege of spending time with her and I often noted how interested she was in the buildings in Manhattan.  It was […]

FEMINISIM IN CLAY: Ceramic Art by Native American Woman

To some, ceramic art produced by Native Americans, particularly women, is simply craft.  It doesn’t help that the entire output of these artists is referred to by the generic term pottery.  Of course, skill and craft are involved in the creation of a ceramic work, but many pieces are rightly considered art.  The discussion of […]

ONE! SINGULAR SENSATION: Selecting Works from the 2018 Annual Cape Dorset Print Collection

For collectors of Inuit prints the high point of each year is the release of the Cape Dorset Annual Print Collection.  The prints are produced in editions of fifty each, though on rare occasions one or two prints are done in a run of one hundred.  Cape Dorset has consistently been able to attract and […]

OVERLOOKED: Rick Bartow’s Drypoint Etchings

Most collectors of Rick Bartow’s work focus on his paintings, sculptures, and large monotypes, overlooking his drypoint etchings.  This is unfortunate since these small prints are among the artist’s most visceral works.  Rick Bartow used drypoint etching to explore a wide range of themes and subject matter.  The technique involves using a stylus or “needle” […]

LOOKING TOWARDS THE FUTURE: The Next Generation of Cape Dorset Graphic Artists

Over the last fifty years, Cape Dorset has been the only Canadian Arctic community that has consistently been able to attract and maintain a large group of international collectors.  This is due to the support of the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative, the marketing and promotion of Dorset Fine Arts and, most importantly, the willingness of […]

COLORED WITH HUMOR: The Graphic Art of Ningiukulu Teevee

Known for her strong visual style, her powerful use of color, and her distinctive sense of humor, as well as her talent for presenting traditional aspects of Inuit culture in a unique way, Ningiukulu Teevee is one of Cape Dorset’s rising stars  Hers is a decidedly contemporary sensibility and there is no other Inuit graphic […]

AMERICA’S FIRST REVOLUTION: Jason Garcia’s Tewa Tales of Suspense! Series

Early in 2016, Jason Garcia E-mailed me, writing that he was in the process of beginning a series of prints about the 1680 Pueblo Revolt and asked if I would be interested in acquiring each work as he created it.  This was certainly an ambitious undertaking and, at the time, it was not clear how […]

IDIOSYNCRATIC: The Graphic Art of Shuvinai Ashoona

In all of contemporary Inuit art, there is no one quite like Shuvinai Ashoona.  Celebrated for her dark sense of humor, Shuvinai (as she is known to gallerists and collectors) has staked out a territory that is all her own.  By juxtaposing the familiar with the bizarre the artist creates a disturbing sense of disorientation […]

AN EXCELLENT ART ADVENTURE: Acquiring Works on Paper by Allan Houser and Harry Fonseca

As a collector, I am always interested in acquiring new works.  For many years the focus of my collecting was historic and, then later, contemporary pottery created by Native American artists.  However, sometime around 2008 I became aware that a number of Pueblo ceramic artists, such as Jason Garcia, Diego Romero, and Virgil Ortiz, were […]

AND THE SHIP SAILS ON: More on Jaune Quick-to-See Smith’s Trade Canoe Series

              “They’re all trade canoes, something is being traded and in most of my political statements it’s about money being traded for quality of life.” Jaun  e Quick-to-See Smith   In the summer of 2009 I visited the Indiana University Art Museum in Bloomington.  When I reached the very end of Art of the Western […]

SHIP OF FOOLS: Jaune Quick-to-See Smith’s Trade Canoe Series

Writers and artists have used boats as a symbol for humankind’s journey through life since ancient times.  In the Bible, Noah, his family, and all of earth’s creatures are saved from the waters of the Flood by taking refuge in the ark.  The concept of the ship of fools originates from Book VI of Plato’s […]

PROVOCATEUR: The Graphic Art of Kent Monkman

Sometime around 2008 I encountered Kent Monkman’s work for the first time.  It took me a few minutes to realize that what I was looking at were more than modern versions of classic paintings.  I stared, fascinated by each piece and then came suddenly to the realization of the the provocative aspects of what I […]

TWO FOR THE MONEY: Selecting Works from the 2017 Annual Cape Dorset Print Collection

For collectors of contemporary Inuit prints, October is the most important time of year since this is when the Annual Cape Dorset Print Collection, consisting of over thirty works, is released.  Anticipation is high among aficionados in Canada, the U.S. and Europe.  The prints are produced in editions of fifty, with the rare exception of […]

UKIYO-E: The Influence of the Floating World on Rick Bartow’s Prints

Discovering what inspired an artist to create a particular work or why he or she used a particular style is always fascinating.  In the case of Rick Bartow the influences are many and intriguing: his Wiyot heritage, Vermeer, Klimt, Chagall, Max Beckmann, Francis Bacon, Odilon Redon, Horst Janssen, Edward Hopper, Hieronymus Bosch, Expressionism, and Surrealism.  […]

YOU HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR: Museums Aren’t The Scary Places Some People Imagine Them To Be

Not long ago I was invited to attend a reception for a small art exhibition in Manhattan.  During two separate conversations, I learned something that I had not realized before: Some people are intimidated by museums.  I first encountered this feeling when speaking to a young man in this twenties.  He told me that the […]


The term Inuit art encompasses a diverse range of media, subject matter, genres, and themes which, as a collector, continues to fascinate me.  I have been continually surprised to discover strange, surrealistic masterpieces among the early works and equally amazed by the explorations and experimentation of younger Inuit artists. Inuit people have been creating art […]

EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED: The Ceramic Art of Les Namingha

Artists who continually experiment and explore hold the interest of collectors who anxiously wait to see what they will create next.  Les Namingha is such an artist.  It is astounding that he is able to produce so many astonishingly diverse works.  Each of his pieces is unique.  Mr. Namingha uses the ceramic medium much like […]

FROM THE HEART OF THE SEA: The Ceramic Art of Courtney M. Leonard

Much of Courtney M. Leonard’s work is a response to the maritime influences that shaped the lives of her ancestors.  She is a member of the Shinnecock tribe whose ancestral lands are located on the southeastern shore of what is today Long Island, New York.  The 750-acre Shinnecock Indian Reservation is located about 3 miles […]

Two Old Women: An Alaskan Legend Of Betrayal, Courage And Survival: A Teacher’s Perspective

It is hard to believe that it has been just over twenty years since I first stumbled upon Two Old Women by Velma Wallis while I was visiting Fort Yukon, Alaska, the author’s hometown.   At the time, I was still teaching and looking for books that I could use with my English classes.  The fact […]

SAVING THE ZUNI MURALS: A Complicated Controversy

The first time I saw the Zuni murals in the early 1990s they appeared to be in pristine condition.  Alex Seowtewa and his sons were in the process of completing them and as I marveled at their vibrant colors and extraordinary beauty I thought that calling them “America’s Sistine Chapel” would not be an exaggeration.  […]

R-E-S-P-E-C-T: On Visiting the Hopi Mesas

Each time I have traveled to the Hopi Mesas I have been struck by the hospitality and generosity of the people.  However, too often the mainstream press has portrayed the Hopi as rigid and unwelcoming whenever they have closed their lands to outsiders.  Usually omitted, though, is the fact that the actions of the Hopi […]

FILLING IN THE GAP: Collecting Early to Mid-Twentieth Century Native American Works on Paper

Recently, I came to the conclusion that, although I have ledger drawings from the 1800s and many contemporary Native American prints and drawings in my collection, it contains no Native works on paper from the early to mid-twentieth century.  As a collector, it is important to me that, as much as possible, all areas of […]

ONE PLUS TWO: The Annual Cape Dorset Print Collection Past and Present

For over twenty-five years, collecting Inuit works on paper has been an exciting and often exhilarating experience. Of course, the high point of each year is the release of the Annual Cape Dorset Print Collection. This year the collection contains twenty-seven works in a variety of print media – stonecut, stonecut & stencil, linocut, lithography, […]


That art produced by contemporary Native American artists is American art is hardly a profound statement.  In fact, the idea seems obvious.  However, although there are notable exceptions such as the Denver Art Museum and the Brooklyn Museum, the work of contemporary Native American artists is rarely exhibited in encyclopedic art museums, including those dedicated […]

WOVEN WONDER: The Creation of Shan Goshorn’s Color of Conflicting Values

Much has been written about the decidedly modernist baskets created by Shan Goshorn but little, if anything, has documented her artistic process so that viewers can understand how these marvelous works of art (perhaps best deemed sculptures) come to be.  At first glance, Goshorn’s baskets appear to be benign, even traditional.  What draws viewers in […]

SHAPE-SHIFTER: The Ceramic Art of Glen Nipshank

Because his art shatters stereotypical preconceptions, many collectors are surprised to learn that Glen Nipshank is Native American.  They are equally surprised that his tribal affiliation is Big Stone Cree since most collectors of Native American ceramic art predominantly collect works by Pueblo artists.  Nipshank explores form, color and shading in his ceramics, most of […]

O Pioneer! The Ceramic Art of Jody Folwell

An artist’s vision often outpaces the expectations of collectors, curators, and critics since innovations are very different from shortcuts and often require more time, rather than less, to execute.  Truly great artists know this.  Although they may push the boundaries of their art, artists know that an innovation must be artistically grounded, not a mere […]

IT’S A BUG’S LIFE: More on Eliza Naranjo Morse’s And We Will Live Off the Fat of the Land Series

Artists never know what will inspire them. The sources are myriad – personal experience, Nature, literature, or the work of other artists to name a few. In 2011, I began to acquire a group stencils and a collage by Eliza Naranjo Morse that were part of And We Will Live Off the Fat of the […]

GETTING PERSONAL: Sarah Sense’s My Basket Story Series, An Artist’s Journey Expressed Through Art

In the fall of 2013 I contacted Sarah Sense with an eye to acquiring some pieces from her My Basket Story Series, consisting of sixteen works. Sarah responded that she wanted the series to stay together and go to one collector and, then shyly added, that she wanted that collector to be me.  I was […]


There have always been farsighted people who have recognized great artists and acquired their work long before it was sought after by the majority of collectors or exhibited in galleries and museums. In the 1920s Gertrude Stein was buying up paintings by Picasso while he was still relatively unknown.  Around the middle of the 20th […]

PAPER CURRENCY: The Prints of Linley B. Logan

Collectors become aware of artists in a variety of ways.  Often it is through museum and gallery exhibits; sometimes it is via gallery and artists’ web sites; and in many instances an artist’s work may be recommended by gallerists or curators.  In the case of Linley B. Logan, I just sort of stumbled upon him.  […]

FAMILY VALUES: Sarah Sense’s Grandmother’s Stories Series

Collectors become aware of artworks they wish to acquire in a variety of ways.  From May 1 through July 5, 2015, the Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa Hardesty Arts Center presented INTERTWINED, STORIES OF SPLINTERED PASTS: Shan Goshorn & Sarah Sense.  Although I could not see the exhibit in person, the artists gifted me […]

NORTHERN STAR: The Art of Annie Pootoogook

In just over ten years Annie Pootoogook went from novice to emerging artist to a star sought after on the international art scene.    Unlike many Inuit artists of previous generations, Annie does not present an idealized or romanticized version of life in the North filtered through memory.  Instead, she shows life in the Arctic as […]

THESE THREE: Selecting Works from the 2015 Cape Dorset Print Collection

The most exciting time of year for collectors of Inuit prints is the October release of the Annual Cape Dorset Print Collection, consisting of over thirty works.  Since prints are produced in editions of fifty each, with the rare exception of one or two prints with a run of one hundred, anticipation is high among […]

CLEO, LIZ, SARAH AND ME: The Genesis of a Commissioned Work of Art

Most people would never connect a 1960s Hollywood movie about an ancient Egyptian queen, staring Elizabeth Taylor, with a Native artist and an Italian-American collector and expect the combination to result in a wok of art.  They would be surprised to learn that this very mixture produced Elizabeth as Cleopatra by Sarah Sense. I was […]

COMMITTED: The Brooklyn Museum’s Dedication to Showcasing the Indigenous Arts of the Americas

One of the earliest catalysts of my passion for Native art was the Brooklyn Museum.  It was there, in the early 1980s, that I first saw the pottery of Lucy Lewis, an event that set me on a journey of over thirty years collecting ceramic art created by Native artists.  That experience was also the […]

FERTILE MINDS: Susan Folwell and Les Namingha’s Corn Maiden Series

Drawing from a seemingly endless well of creativity, Susan Folwell and Les Namingha are two of the most exciting and innovative contemporary American artists.  Their predominant medium is ceramics, which they use much like a painter employs canvas or a sculptor stone or wood.  Folwell is constantly pushing this art form in new directions – […]

MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR: The Art of Sonya Kelliher-Combs

Whenever I am confronted by the work of Sonya Kelliher-Combs I feel as if I’m on an artistic magical mystery tour.  I never know where I am being taken but the journey is always thrilling, filled with revelations, secrets, metaphors, portraits and original ideas.  Through her idiosyncratic imagery and use of unusual materials in unique […]

HELLO DOLLIES: Collecting Native Dolls

They have been called “miniatures,” “small spirits,” and “cultural microcosms” but, with few exceptions, dolls are first and foremost a child’s earliest and best friend.  Being a male collector, I never really thought much about acquiring Native dolls but somehow they made their way into my collection and into my heart.  It was certainly not […]

LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT: The Graphic Art of Janet Kigusiuq

When I first encountered Inuit art I knew nothing about it but the more I saw the more intrigued I became.  Visits to Vancouver and Toronto fueled my curiosity.  With a little research, I discovered that the Arctic Artistry Gallery which specialized in Inuit art was only about two miles from where I lived.  Over […]


As a collector, I can say in all honesty that I never know what type of art will attract my attention.  Lately, I am mostly drawn to abstract works rather than those that are representational.  When the 2014 Cape Dorset Annual Print Collection was released (the highpoint of the year for collectors of Inuit prints) […]

FUTUREWORLD: Five Young Ceramic Artists of Note

Collecting is a learning process, or it should be, in my opinion.  In order to remain relevant, collectors and collections must continually evolve.  Although, over the years, I have acquired many different types of Native art, I began with pottery and, though I am fast running out of space, I still can never resist an […]

NEW, NOW, NATIVE: A Collector’s Pick of Contemporary Native Artists

More than ever before Native artists are challenging ideas of what it means to be both Native and an artist.  They are expanding Native art beyond traditional boundaries and refusing to be confined by anyone else’s notions of what their art should or should not be.  Nothing, be it themes, materials, or forms, is off […]


Each year scores of tourists are drawn to Alaska’s Pribilof Islands by the prospect of seeing millions of animals in their natural habitat.  Most, however, are totally unaware that the “Galápagos of the North” was once the site of a shocking human tragedy that lasted more than 200 years.             The history of the Unungan, […]

FROM ANGST TO ART: The Creative Genius of Ric Bartow

The purpose of art is not merely to be decorative. Great art forces us to see the world around us from a unique perspective. While art can be beautiful it can also be unsettling, shocking, or thought provoking. The work of great artists not only elicits an emotional response but, also challenges us to think […]

COURTING CONTROVERSY: Napachie Pootoogooks Most Provocative Drawings

Late in her life, Inuit artist Napachie Pootogook began to create a series of drawings documenting life as it was once lived by her people, thereby creating a body of work the likes of which had not been seen before.  At the time Napachie produced these works, what collectors, curators and the general public wanted […]

BACK TO THE FUTURE: IAIA Student Artists of Note – Part 2

As a former teacher, I tend to view all educational institutions with a critical eye and, it would be fair to say that, it takes a great deal to impress me.  It seems that there is often so much cant where education is concerned.  However, a school that clearly fosters learning, artistic talent and a […]

BACK TO THE FUTURE: IAIA Student Artists of Note – Part 1

          Sometimes in order to go forward it is necessary to go backward.  This is especially true for artists who, for inspiration, often turn to earlier artistic forms, such as ledger art, or to a time in life that was particularly painful or fraught with struggles.  In addition, contemporary Native American […]

SMOKE SCREENS: The Uneasy Relationship Between Native Americans and the Movies

For well over a century, images of Native Americans have been flashed across movie screens worldwide.  The tales of “wild Indians” and “noble savages” that audiences devoured as emblematic of the American West were illusions on more than one level.  For the most part, the stories have been fictitious but, even when based on fact, […]

PAPER TIGERS: Another Look at Native American Works on Paper

In the minds of many, Native American artists are inexorably linked with what has come to be known as the “traditional arts” – pottery, baskets, beadwork and such.  However, while many contemporary Native artists still work in these media, more often than not, they execute their art in decidedly modernist ways.  Other contemporary Native artists […]

A PETROGLYPH PRIMER: Deer Valley Rock Art Center

When most people think of Native American art I doubt petroglyphs or other forms of rock art come to mind.  However, these ancient markings are important to understanding much of the Native art that followed, including that produced in the contemporary era.  Rock art is mysterious, mystical and mesmerizing.  What makes it so fascinating is […]

ADVENTURES IN COLLECTING: Facing the Challenges of Acquisition

Acquiring art for my collection has been an enjoyable process, except for figuring out how to pay for it.  Usually, that has been solved with payment plans.  In almost thirty years of collecting I’ve purchased pieces for my collection from shops, galleries, trading posts and directly from artists.  Often, art was collected while traveling and, […]

NOW YOU SEE IT, NOW YOU DON’T: Collecting and Provenance

          Whenever I lecture about Native art I always explain that as a collector sometimes one is given a great deal of information, sometimes just a little, sometimes none and, in some cases, misinformation.  As a beginning collector, I was so delighted to acquire a piece I liked that it never really […]

RE-SEEING THE WEST: Collecting Ledger Drawings

February, 2014 The American West is instantly recognizable to people around the world because, for generations, it has been portrayed in countless works of art.  Paintings, novels, plays, operas and, most recently, movies and TV have presented it as a wild and violent place.  However, over the last century the West has been seen through […]