Knowing Native Arts


Knowing Native Arts

Nancy Marie Mithlo

272 pages
12 color photographs, 27 b&w photographs, 4 color illustrations


September 2020


$34.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

September 2020


$34.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)

September 2020


$34.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Knowing Native Arts brings Nancy Marie Mithlo’s Native insider perspective to understanding the significance of Indigenous arts in national and global milieus. These musings, written from the perspective of a senior academic and curator traversing a dynamic and at turns fraught era of Native self-determination, are a critical appraisal of a system that is often broken for Native peoples seeking equity in the arts.

Mithlo addresses crucial issues, such as the professionalization of Native arts scholarship, disparities in philanthropy and training, ethnic fraud, and the receptive scope of Native arts in new global and digital realms. This contribution to the field of fine arts broadens the scope of discussions and offers insights that are often excluded from contemporary appraisals.


Author Bio

Nancy Marie Mithlo (Chiricahua Apache) is a professor of gender studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a senior curator and lecturer on Indigenous arts. She has curated Native arts exhibitions at the Venice Biennale, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, and the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts. She is the editor of Manifestations: New Native Art Criticism and For a Love of His People: The Photography of Horace Poolaw.


"Knowing Native Arts offers a necessary perspective not only for undergraduate and graduate courses on Indigenous art, art history across the Americas, and so on, but also for introduction to ethics, advanced classes on the philosophy of art and on value theory, and graduate seminars on aesthetics."—Benjamin P. Davis, American Indian Quarterly

"Mithlo proves her own argument for the need for supporting new generations of Native arts scholars as vital to the understanding, promotion and preservation of Native arts and cultures."—Gerald Clarke, American Indian Culture and Research Journal

"Knowing Native Arts is necessary reading for those in the fields of museum studies and the arts as well as Indigenous studies and anthropology. Understanding the Native arts world through a Native worldview is crucial, and this book is a highly recommended addition to all art library collections."—Shoshana Vegh-Gaynor, Art Libraries Society of North America

“This is a deeply personal book that blends Mithlo’s personal, family, and tribal experiences with significant scholarship and meditation on the field of Native American art.”—Ryan Wheeler, coeditor of Glory, Trouble, and Renaissance at the Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology

“Mithlo provides a rare opportunity to expose the truth and lay bare the great challenges and divides in contemporary Native arts. Her essays uncover, articulate, and open the discussion to illuminate the disenfranchisement of Native arts today.”—Patsy Phillips (Cherokee), director of the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum of Contemporary Native Arts

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction: Dangerous for the Heart
1. “The Manner in Which Knowledge Grows”
2. Native Arts’ Visual Remix
3. Indigenous Arts Movements at Home and Abroad
4. On the Other Side of the Ocean
5. Postidentity Claims, Realism, and Radical Restructuring
6. The Encyclopedic Gaze
7. Decentering Durham
8. American Indians and Museums: The Love/Hate Relationship
Conclusion: The Good Fight

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