cover image Guide to the Arts of the Americas

Guide to the Arts of the Americas

Rizzoli, Harmer Johnson. Rizzoli International Publications, $60 (240pp) ISBN 978-0-8478-1597-5

Here, finally, is a shopper's guide to pre-Columbian and North American Indian art that will facilitate the aesthetic appreciation, connoisseurship and accumulation of these objects. Unabashedly defending the controversial practice of collecting Native American art, the authors argue that it is just another fine art commodity, dismissing the claims of scientific archeology, national patrimony, ethnic pride and religious practice that challenge the propriety of this position. The book is divided into separate sections on pre-Columbian and North American material culture, and outlines the various regions and standard types of collectible items from each area. Six hundred illustrations of varying quality, 100 of them in color, with detailed captions, provide useful information about stylistic features, dating and, sometimes, iconography. An appendix lists dealers, auction houses, specialized bookstores, a glossary of terms and a bibliography for each area. Johnson is a dealer of tribal and ancient art, Griffin curates Princeton's pre-Columbian collection and Furst is professor emeritus of anthropology at the State University of New York. (Dec.)