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A Strange Mixture: The Art and Politics of Painting Pueblo by Sascha T. Scott

By Sascha T. Scott

Drawn to the wealthy ceremonial existence and designated structure of the hot Mexico pueblos, many early-twentieth-century artists depicted Pueblo peoples, locations, and tradition in work. those artists’ encounters with Pueblo Indians fostered their information of local political struggles and led them to hitch with Pueblo groups to champion Indian rights. during this booklet, paintings historian Sascha T. Scott examines the ways that non-Pueblo and Pueblo artists recommended for American Indian cultures by means of confronting a few of the cultural, criminal, and political problems with the day.

Scott heavily examines the paintings of 5 various artists, exploring how their artwork was once formed through and helped to form Indian politics. She locations the paintings in the context of the interwar interval, 1915–30, a time whilst federal Indian coverage shifted clear of compelled assimilation and towards maintenance of local cultures. via cautious research of work by way of Ernest L. Blumenschein, John Sloan, Marsden Hartley, and Awa Tsireh (Alfonso Roybal), Scott indicates how their depictions of thriving Pueblo lifestyles and rituals promoted cultural maintenance and challenged the pervasive romanticizing subject of the “vanishing Indian.” Georgia O’Keeffe’s photographs of Pueblo dances, which attach abstraction with lived event, testify to the legacy of those political and aesthetic transformations.

Scott uses anthropology, historical past, and indigenous stories in her paintings old narrative. She is among the first students to handle different responses to problems with cultural maintenance via aesthetically and culturally diversified artists, together with Pueblo painters. superbly designed, this booklet gains approximately sixty works of art reproduced in complete colour.

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Extra info for A Strange Mixture: The Art and Politics of Painting Pueblo Indians (The Charles M. Russell Center Series on Art and Photography of the American West, Volume 16)

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Will he remain tethered to his parents’ uncivilized life, or will schooling help him to his feet so that he can join civilized society? The boy in the central frame of “A Strange Mixture” summons a similar question, but his pose suggests that, at the time, Blumenschein was less confident in there being a good answer. Months later, the answer to the “Indian problem” was clearer to the artist, perhaps because he was depicting a different type of Indian. “Wards of the Nation” proclaims that hope for the boy, and consequently for his people, is to be found in assimilation through white schooling.

The latter paradigm was particularly popular in paintings by Anglo artists in Taos through the 1910s, including those by E. Irving Couse, Joseph Sharp, and even Blumenschein. In keeping with dominant pictorial tropes, Blumenschein’s Evening at Pueblo of Taos (1913, Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway, Fort Worth) features romanticized and Orientalized Pueblo Indians and downplays evidence of colonization. ” Whether constructing the Indian as unable to survive in the present or freezing the Indian in an imagined past, paintings of Indians through the late 1910s rarely pictured Native peoples as active participants in the present.

29 “Pueblo Indian’s Holiday” registers Blumenschein’s ambivalence toward assimilation through education. The narrative devotes substantial description to the ceremonial footrace. Blumenschein gave readers a lively account of the “race,” during which the North and South settlements of Taos Pueblo participated in a relay. 30 The artist more explicitly communicated his confidence in assimilationist poli­ cies when he explained that Indians benefited both mentally and physically from a civilized education, only to undermine this claim later in the same passage.

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