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Knowing the West : Visual Legacies of the American West - Mindy N. Besaw

Knowing the West

Visual Legacies of the American West

By: Mindy N. Besaw, Jami C. Powell

Hardcover | 10 September 2024

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This expansive survey of the art and culture of the American West presents richly diverse works by more than 35 distinct Native American nations considered alongside non-Native artists from the late eighteenth to early twentieth centuries.

Knowing the West encourages deeper consideration of the variety of cultures that together reflect the complex histories and stories of the American West. Astonishing in range, historical significance, medium, and quality, more than 120 artworks by Native American and non-Native artists are presented--including textiles, baskets, paintings, pottery, beadwork, saddles, and prints--including many by women.

The artworks are shown in meaningful dialogue, such as baskets by Elizabeth Hickox (Wiyot/Karuk) juxtaposed with a large-scale California landscape by Albert Bierstadt, or New Mexican tinwork in conversation with a beaded valise by Nellie Two Bear Gates (Dakota), emphasizing influence and exchange and pointing out different ways of thinking about land and place. Multiple texts by a diverse range of scholars with broad-reaching perspectives explore topics such as history and making of Lakota winter counts, the development of saddles and bridles from across cultures, and the influence of the railroad and tourism on Southwestern pottery. This unprecedented volume centers Native voices and perspectives, prompting further thinking and research about the art history of the West.

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