Modern by Tradition: American Indian Painting in the Studio Style

Bruce Bernstein, Author, W. Jackson Rushing, III, Joint Author Museum of New Mexico Press $45 (176p) ISBN 978-0-89013-286-9
This jewel-like showcase of Native American paintings features works by students of Dorothy Dunn, Kansas-born schoolteacher and curator, who, though an outsider, absorbed Navajo and Pueblo ways and established the country's first Indian art school. At the Studio, the fine-arts program she founded in 1932 at the federal government's Santa Fe Indian School, Dunn promoted the ``modern flat-art'' style featuring clearly outlined, bright forms rhythmically linked in a seemingly dimensionless yet narrative space. Ranging in age from 11 to 21, her students drew on tribal symbolism, pottery motifs, rock art and wall-painting traditions to create pictures of great charm, intricate beauty and surprising power, whether depicting wild horses, a wedding, ritual dances, women stripping birch bark, or hunters. Dunn, who directed the Studio until 1937, encouraged her pupils to portray their lives authentically as members of specific cultures-Hopi, Kiowa, Apache, etc.-and many of them became prominent artists, including Joe H. Herrera, Geronima Cruz Montoya, Oscar Howe and Pablita Velarde. An exhibition of 98 paintings from the Dunn collection, which will travel nationally, was co-curated by Bernstein, chief curator at Santa Fe's Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. Rushing is art history professor at the University of Missouri. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/30/1995
Release date: 11/01/1995
Paperback - 176 pages - 978-0-89013-291-3
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