Category Archives: Art and Art History

Gifts from Their Grandmothers: Megan Smetzer on “Painful Beauty”

A common thread running through the contemporary artworks included in my book, Painful Beauty, is the deep respect for the tangible and intangible gifts received by the artists from their mothers and grandmothers through the beadwork they created. Two ephemeral fragments—a family snapshot of a mother and daughter beading moccasins and a paper beadwork pattern stored in a fruitcake tin—inspired the poignant and powerful artworks by Larry McNeil and Tanis S’eiltin that are critical to my own consideration of the histories of Tlingit beadwork.

Tlingit mothers and grandmothers in Southeast Alaska and elsewhere have known the power of beadwork to feed their families and also affirm thousands of years of connections to the land and its bountiful resources. Yet throughout the twentieth century, their beading has been dismissed by many scholars and collectors as derivative and inauthentic. Tlingit communities, however, have long recognized the strength and resilience of these women through the overt racism and discrimination brought to bear by the institutions of settler colonialism. Through the generosity of the descendants of these beaders, who are telling their stories through contemporary artistic production, the historical significance and impact of these powerful Indigenous women is being shared more widely with the public.

I was first drawn to Larry McNeil’s photographic collage, Once Upon a Time in America, because of the 1943 snapshot at its center depicting his mother Anita McNeil (kaajee seidee) and grandmother Mary Brown Betts (kah saa nák) holding and sewing beaded moccasins. Here was a beautiful illustration of the intangible intergenerational knowledge that fueled so much beading in the mid-twentieth century. I knew, from archival research, that around five hundred women had beaded moccasins and other work for sale through the Alaska Native Arts and Crafts Cooperative from the 1930s to the 1970s. Many contemporary artists I have spoken with shared memories of watching or helping their grandmothers with beaded work. In this print and in his writing, McNeil foregrounds the power of these women through a seemingly mundane activity, which, in fact, was central to their fight for equal education as well as perpetuating intangible Tlingit ways of knowing in a difficult and discriminatory era. I am deeply grateful to Larry McNeil and his sisters, Helen and Patty, for sharing stories of their mother and grandmother with me.

Larry McNeil, Once Upon a Time in America from Fly by Night Mythology series, 2002. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Over the years Tanis S’eiltin and I have discussed octopus bags—distinctive pouches with four pairs of “tentacles” made from wool and beaded with seaweed and floral designs—and how they express historical trade relationships with interior peoples as well as the ways in which Tlingit women transformed them aesthetically to better represent local knowledge. When I first saw photographs of S’eiltin’s untitled armor-like floor-length coat featuring an oversized beadwork pattern depicting an octopus, I was thrilled to see how she had transformed the idea of an octopus bag into a life-size work celebrating Tlingit women.

During my visit to see her coat, Tanis mentioned that she had a fruitcake tin filled with beadwork patterns that dated to her great-grandmother’s era. I was nearly brought to tears when she brought it out. I had been told of these tins filled with patterns, but this was the first time one was shared with me. We pulled out hundreds of delicate pieces of paper, cut from old envelopes and cookbooks, and Tanis shared stories of the women, including her great-grandmother Mary Barries and her mother Maria Ackerman Miller (Ldaneit), who filled the tin over the years. These patterns and others like them adorned hundreds, if not thousands of pairs of moccasins made for sale throughout the twentieth century. The oversize octopus pattern on the coat foregrounds those powerful Tlingit women and their centrality to trade in all its forms, including the relationships that brought octopus bags and other treasures to Southeast Alaska. S’eiltin has drawn inspiration from this battered “box of treasures” to create work for her own children and grandchildren to teach them about their matrilineal legacies. I am so grateful for the opportunity Tanis has given me to write about her work.

Tanis S’eiltin, Untitled, 2017. Photo courtesy of the author.

Tanis S’eiltin’s fruitcake tin holding three generations of beading patterns. Photo courtesy of the author.

Tanis S’eiltin, Untitled, 2017. Photo courtesy of the author.

I extend my gratitude to all Tlingit people, past and present, who have always expressed longstanding cultural practices through the incorporation of new ideas and materials in innovative and creative ways. The histories and stories shared in Painful Beauty are a testament to the power of their art and the strength of their resilience.


Megan A. Smetzer is lecturer of art history at Capilano University.

Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle

Coinciding with the exhibition of the same name, Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle, edited by Elizabeth Hutton Turner and Austen Barron Bailly and co-published with the Peabody Essex Museum, sets the precedent for the next generation of Lawrence scholars and studies in modern and contemporary discourse. The American Struggle explores Jacob Lawrence’s radical way of transforming history into art by looking at his thirty panel series of paintings, Struggle . . . From the History of the American People (1954–56). Essays by Steven Locke, Elizabeth Hutton Turner, Austen Barron Bailly, and Lydia Gordon mark the historic reunion of this series—seen together in this exhibition for the first time since 1958. In entries on the panels, a multitude of voices responds to the episodes representing struggle from American history that Lawrence chose to activate in his series.

While the exhibition was on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the long missing Panel 16 was discovered and added to the collection. Lydia Gordon, exhibition coordinating curator at Peabody Essex Museum, wrote about the recent discovery for the museum’s blog:

Months before we put Jacob Lawrence’s Struggle series on view at PEM last January, we began to dream that our exhibition of Lawrence’s works depicting the struggle for American democracy would help turn up several lost pieces of the narrative.

Reuniting a lost series is a project of great significance. Struggle. . . From the History of the American People is the only series of paintings by the great American artist that didn’t stick together. We wanted to know why? And, more importantly, where were they? These were the driving questions behind the research to unearth Lawrence’s vision of American history from more than 60 years ago. After years of digging through the archives, papers, exhibition history and connecting with gallerists, private collectors and institutions, we knew enough to account for every painting in the series through their titles and therefore, give all 30 paintings their symbolic and interpretive place within the narrative. However, for two of them, we had no idea what they even looked like. They had disappeared from public memory almost immediately after they left Lawrence’s gallery.

Click here to read the rest of the discovery story on PEM’s blog.

The exhibition travels next to the Seattle Art Museum. It will be on display from March 5 until May 23.  Visit SAM’s website to learn more about the exhibit. Click here for more on SAM’s re-opening and what to know when planning your visit.

Latinx Photography in the United States by Elizabeth Ferrer

I undertook the writing of a comprehensive survey of Latinx photographers from the nineteenth century to the present day to address a single issue: by and large, Latinx photographers have been excluded from the documented history of photography in the United States. Remarkably, there has been no single book on this subject before this one, no comprehensive museum exhibition, and no institutional collection, even though Latinx people number some 52 million people–18 percent of the US population. And while we are a vast and diverse population, whether with respect to race, region, language, or cultural heritage, we share the legacy of Spanish colonialism, bicultural outlooks, histories of immigration, and experiences with social, political, and economic marginalization. This latter fact has been a motivating force for generations of photographers to work with a deep sense of social and political commitment and to direct their creative efforts toward affirming the autonomy and values of their own communities.

Latinx Photography in the United States offers an introduction to photographers active in the late nineteenth century and in the first half of the twentieth century, but my primary focus is on the 1960s onward, beginning with the civil rights era, when an early generation of Latinx photographers were approaching their work with a sense of ethnic consciousness and pride. This is when politically motivated photographers documented the labor-organizing activities of Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers (UFW) in the San Joaquin Valley of California, the high school walkouts and demonstrations against the Vietnam War in East Los Angeles, and the protests and political actions against the inequities faced by citizens of Spanish Harlem and other economically marginalized neighborhoods in New York in those years.

As I studied images of social activism made across the United States I was struck by the parallels between the ways Latinx photographers on opposite sides of the continent chronicled movements that may have been aware of each other but had limited means to communicate and provide mutual support. The photographs here express the solidarity, perseverance, and resistance shared by newly politicized communities across the United States. This body of work also became a model for future generations of photographic artists. Even as the medium has evolved in later decades, as those working with photography began to manipulate or stage imagery, experiment with conceptual approaches, and eventually turn to digital tools, Latinx photographers have continued to manifest this deep sense of purpose, deploying their talents toward constructing and imagining a broader view of American identity.

Justo A. Martí, A Protest against Dictator Trujillo outside Rockefeller Center, Justo A. Martí Photographic Collection, 1948–85. Courtesy of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies Library & Archives, Hunter College, CUNY.

Working as a studio photographer as well as for New York’s principal Spanish-language newspaper, El Diario La Prensa, Cuban American photographer Justo A. Martí (1920–1990) documented the city in an era when Puerto Ricans and other Latinx people were arriving in the city in record numbers. His rich archive includes scenes of Fidel Castro in New York, parades and beauty pageants, and this early image of protest, a demonstration against the dictator Rafael Trujillo held by Dominicans in New York.

Cris Sanchez, strikers at the Paso Ranch, May 1973. Supporters of the UFW gather in the fields outside the Paso Ranch to wave flags during a strike. Courtesy of the Walter P. Reuther Library, Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs.

Cris Sanchez was one of many photographers–Chicanx and others–who extensively documented the activities of the farmworkers’ labor struggles in California in the 1960s and 1970s. These photographers portrayed the daily activities of United Farm Workers leaders Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, organizing meetings, migrant workers in the field, and protests across the state. Although Sanchez was a ubiquitous chronicler of the UFW, much of his archive was lost when he died in 1993.

Ben Garza, photograph of a female striker holding a UFW eagle flag and covering her face to hide her identity during the 1974 San Luis strike, Arizona. Courtesy of the Walter P. Reuther Library, Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs. 
La Raza photographic staff, East LA high school walkouts, 1968. Courtesy of the artist and the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center

The social justice newspaper (and later magazine) La Raza was published in Los Angeles from 1966 to 1977. A key early outlet for the dissemination of photographs made with a consciously Chicanx perspective, it operated with a volunteer staff of young activists. This photograph is part of the publication’s extensive documentation of the East Los Angeles high school walkouts, an early mobilization of Chicanxs and a protest against the substandard public schools in their neighborhoods. La Raza’s archive of over 25,000 negatives and slides is now housed at the Chicano Studies Research Center at UCLA.

Hiram Maristany, Procession, undated. Courtesy of the artist.

I was struck by the similar expressions of defiance in this and the final photograph, made within a year of each other in Los Angeles and New York. Hiram Maristany (b. 1945), born and raised in East Harlem, was the official photographer of the activist political party the Young Lords. He documented their demonstrations, rallies, working meetings, and the activities they carried out to improve access to education, healthcare, and better housing in their community. Here, Maristany captured the fervent expressions of young people taking part in the funeral of Julio Roldán, a member of the Young Lords who was arrested on trumped up charges and found hanging in his cell the following day. A victim of police brutality, Roldán became a martyr in the eyes of Puerto Rican nationalists.

George Rodriguez, LAPD arresting a Chicano student protestor, Boyle Heights 1970. Courtesy of the artist.

The Chicanx photographer George Rodriguez (b. 1937) played a central role in documenting the civil rights movement in his native Los Angeles. Once a Hollywood celebrity photographer, Rodriguez eventually gravitated to the city’s east side, where he photographed the 1968 high school walkouts as well as the 1970 Chicano Moratorium. This massive demonstration against the draft and the Vietnam War ended in violence, as heavy-handed police tactics resulted in numerous injuries and arrests, as well as the killing of four persons including Rubén Salazar, a prominent journalist and columnist for the Los Angeles Times.  


Elizabeth Ferrer, a writer, curator, and arts activist, is vice president of Contemporary Art at BRIC in Brooklyn. Her book Latinx Photography in the United States: A Visual History is available now.

Walking the Waterfront: UW Press’s Audrey Truitt on “Art in Seattle’s Public Spaces”

One beautiful aspect about Seattle is that there are truly endless ways to explore the city. There are many museums, famous monuments, tours, and restaurants to visit. However, if you are looking for something unique to do, Art in Seattle’s Public Spaces by James Rupp offers tours of public art for each of Seattle’s many popular areas. He offers a unique way for you to learn some of Seattle’s history through its artworks. Katie Felton and I, marketing assistants of UW Press, were lucky enough to tour the waterfront for its public spaces, and we discovered some striking art.

In the beginning of our tour, we visited the memorial of Ivar Hagland. The sculpture shows Hagland in a captain’s hat and seamen’s jacket feeding seagulls french fries, which was one of his favorite pastimes. He’s a perfect companion to sit next to as you watch people pass by or enjoy a nice lunch of fish and chips from Ivar’s Fish Bar. Ivar Hagland (1905–1985) was known to be a restaurant owner and entrepreneur who advocated for the city and its people. He was very well liked by the Seattle community. After his death in 1985, many of his friends pooled together the funds to build a statue in his name because he was so beloved by them. Since 1912, this is the first memorial of a Seattle citizen placed in a public space. Richard Beyer sculpted the memorial out of aluminum and bronze and helped leave Ivar Hagland’s legacy behind.

Waterfront Fountain will not fail to leave an impression of awe on the sightseer. Made from a combination of cubic structures, with water cascading off the tall bronze artwork, it is a piece to appreciate. Waterfront Fountain is the last fountain that James Fitzgerald made for Seattle. He designed it with his wife, painter Margaret Tomkins, in October 1973. Sculptor Terry Copple and welder Art Sjodin collaborated with the couple on the piece, due to their past work with Fitzgerald. This work was given to Seattle in memory of Edward M. and Margaret J. Harrington. The Harringtons came to Seattle in 1921 and, like Ivar Hagland, had an undying love and devotion for the city.

2.3 Waterfront Fountain, James FitzGerald and Margaret Tomkins

Waterfront Fountain

As Katie and I approached one of our last artworks, we were delighted to see a colorful mosaic at the bottom of the staircase at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center. Called Danza del Cerchio, Seattle artist Ann Gardner created this piece using glass mosaics and ancient Byzantine techniques. The mural is 48 feet long, with bright, multicolored disks in every color of the rainbow. Ann Gardener first drafted this design on paper, then transferred it to the mosaic form. This piece put us both in a better mood by the time we left it; it is a piece that can brighten up anybody’s day.

Many people often think to go to the waterfront because there are a number of fun things to do there. However, not many notice the art that lives within the area. Katie and I were both grateful to go on this tour for that very reason. Katie has lived in Seattle for several years, and I have lived here my whole life, but neither of us had noticed this hidden world of art. It was synonymous to going on a treasure hunt—no doubt! We realized that many precious pieces of the past go unnoticed and unappreciated. Every day, people pass by these artworks—but how many recognize the piece, appreciate its presence, and know why it’s there? Most likely, not many. What James Rupp has compiled for us is a gift to explore the greater depths and personalities that reside and resided in Seattle. It gives us a way to see how artists expressed themselves through their artwork, or how and why individuals were remembered. It’s more than just seeing art, but a glimpse into why things are the way they are.

 

The tours offered by James Rupp in Art in Seattle’s Public Spaces present something unique to both the out-of-town tourist and lifetime Seattleite. If you are a tourist, you can explore the city’s art history in depth by seeing how interwoven the art is within the streets of Seattle. As an old-time Seattleite, art lovers can appreciate the hidden gems that cover the entire city in open spaces and hidden crevices. The waterfront tour takes about an hour to complete, with seven destinations along the many piers of the waterfront. However, there are many tours that you can take that span from seven to more than thirty public art pieces. Depending on your curiosity and adventure levels, you can break up the day with a short art tour while sightseeing the rest of the city, or devote an entire afternoon to exploring the art in Seattle’s public spaces.


Perfect for art and architecture lovers, as well as visitors and newcomers to the city of Seattle, Art in Seattle’s Public Spaces by James Rupp showcases the wealth of urban art to be freely enjoyed by all.

What keeps us calm during the chaos: Nozomi Naoi on “Yumeji Modern” and finding the “moon-viewing” moment

In such uncertain times, it is important to remember the things that keep us human, keep us who we are, and allow us to persevere.

My book, Yumeji Modern: Designing the Everyday in Twentieth-Century Japan, has a chapter on the artistic reception and visualization of the Great Kantō Earthquake of 1923 (Chapter 5). As tempting as it is to focus on the disaster and suffering, I want to introduce one newspaper illustration and accompanying text that focuses on a moment of serenity, beauty, and humanity amidst the chaos and wreckage.

The modern Japanese artist and main subject of the book, Takehisa Yumeji (1884-1934), wrote and illustrated a newspaper series called Tōkyō sainan gashin (“Sketches of the Tokyo Disaster”), which was published daily in the newspaper Miyako shinbun. Comprising both texts and images, Yumeji’s series records his reactions to the catastrophe and its aftermath and participate in a collective making of memory in modern Japanese history. His visual and literary observations showcase feelings of empathy and shock, as well as disappointment due to the inaction on the part the Japanese government in helping its citizens. Tokyo Disaster began its serialized, daily release merely thirteen days after the earthquake struck, running from September 14 to October 4, and the series presented some of the earliest responses to reach the public.

Out of the twenty-one issues in the series, one stood out: the twelfth issue from September 25, Chūshū no meigetsu (Moon-viewing; fig. 5.09, p. 161). It is a tranquil night scene with a mother and her two children, seen from behind, sitting in a field and looking up at the moon. It is a poignant scene and all the more so with Yumeji’s sensitive portrayal of the woman, as his interest in the female image made him popular with his iconic “Yumeji-style beauty.” The romanticized natural setting and the figures communicate a beautiful moment even within a series that dwells on the theme of destruction.

Moon-viewing

The text recounts how people had to spend many nights in the open due to a lack of shelter and then describes the mother:

I saw a woman pulling pampas grass in the field at Aoyama. I passed by casually, then realized that tonight was “moon-viewing” (chūshū no meigetsu). Some do not forget the offerings to the full moon even in such destitute times when people are living in shacks. Tonight there must be people gazing at the bright moon from the eaves of the galvanized iron roofs, grateful for their survival . . . (pp. 160-161)

Moon-viewing festivities celebrated the beauty of the autumnal moon and prayed for an abundant harvest. The appreciation of mother nature, which had just struck against humanity is nonetheless breathtaking. By homing in on the attempts of one woman to preserve the tradition of moon-viewing for her children despite the tragedy, the image and text also reflect Yumeji’s focus on the experience of the individual in the face of a cataclysmic natural disaster.

The desire for people to recreate and preserve normalcy even during a time of trauma touched Yumeji.

Serialization also allowed Yumeji’s reactions to the earthquake to reach a broad audience every day for three weeks, and the series became a platform that expanded and built upon itself, enabling a kind of memoristic journey that the artist and his audience experienced together.

The series finds its source in Yumeji’s artistic beginnings as an illustrator for socialist bulletins during the time of the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905) and demonstrates on a more personal level his concern for the place of the common people, of the voiceless within a climate of mounting government oppression and militarism. In addition, his keen observation and focus on the figure and its interiority was germane to his development in the portrayal of the female figure, one that evolved from his prolific production of bijinga (beautiful women) imagery, mostly for publications targeting a female audience.

Tokyo Disaster is an important series in the examination of the artist Yumeji and his role in the early twentieth-century mediascape. But it also holds a more personal meaning.

While doing research for this book in Japan, the Tōhoku Earthquake struck northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011, followed by countless aftershocks and a massive tsunami. It was in the aftermath of this event and during Japan’s collective efforts to restore, reconcile, and narrate this disaster that led me to Yumeji’s responses to the Great Kantō Earthquake, the greatest natural disaster during his lifetime. This experience permitted me to approach this series with a better understanding of and insight into Yumeji’s heartfelt reactions to the 1923 earthquake, and I decided to devote my last chapter of the book on this series and include the entire series translation in the appendix. I completed the translations and analysis of this series with the 2011 disaster in mind, which even years later affects the many people who are still unable to return to their homes.

In our current circumstance in 2020, I now feel that the many reactions and critiques seen in this series are ever more relevant, and I hope that in our times today each and every one of us is able to find our own “moon-viewing” moment.


Nozomi Naoi is assistant professor of humanities (art history) at Yale-NUS College and author of Yumeji Modern.

 

 

 

 

 

Explore South Lake Union’s Public Art with Jim Rupp

Good weather and visitors inspire many to explore downtown Seattle, but after Pike Place Market, Pioneer Square, and the Olympic Sculpture Park, many are at a loss about other destinations. The collection of art in Seattle’s public spaces provides many opportunities to discover hidden art treasures in the city—many tucked away in unfamiliar locations and others obvious but unnoticed by passersby. The South Lake Union (SLU) neighborhood is one of my favorite sites to tour because it has over twenty artworks readily available to see during a two-hour walk. Most of them are contemporary creations and the designs of many were influenced by the neighborhood itself.

Nautical history is a theme of two works in South Lake Union Park. An upside down, 20-foot-long sailboat hull is the principal element of Blanche, a sculpture at the park’s northern end. Artist Peter Richards created it after learning about the long history of boating and boat building on Lake Union. One of the best-known builders was Blanchard Boat Company, which built the hull you see. The exterior is clad in stainless steel, a nod to the more technological industries in today’s SLU. You can rent the same model sailboat at the nearby Center for Wooden Boats.

Near Blanche is the Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI) which is well worth a visit. Hanging from the ceiling down to its main floor is John Grade’s 60-foot tall, 11,000 pound sculpture constructed from wood planking from the three-masted schooner Wawona. Grade named his work after that dismantled sailing vessel. MOHAI has informative signage that tells about both the ship and the many interesting aspects of Grade’s design. It moves and you can walk into it! A must-see.

 

 

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The designs of two sculptures by Seattle’s Lead Pencil Studio arose from research about what the neighborhood looked like in the last century. Re-Stack, at Ninth Avenue and Thomas Street, has arches one would have seen on old buildings and its stacked cubes refer both to pallets in the many warehouses that once existed throughout SLU, as well as stacked boxes in today’s Amazon facilities. This sculpture is made of a stainless steel wire mesh that seems to create a ghostly image of things past. Lead Pencil Studio used the same steel mesh to create the form of a toll booth in the plaza off of Fairview Avenue North between Thomas and Harrison streets. This was inspired by photos of parking lots that were once common in the area. The sculpture, titled Troy Block, refers to the Troy Laundry building that once stood on this site, remnants of which remain on its east side.

Walk down the alley off of Republican Street between Yale and Pontius avenues and you can see one of the many other brick laundry facilities that inhabited SLU throughout the 20th century. On the other side of that alley is Laundry Strike, a vertical collection of wicker hampers cast in bronze, with “1917” woven into one side. Wicker hampers were used by laundry workers (all women) and artist Whiting Tennis used these images to commemorate the 1917 Seattle laundry strike, which resulted in those workers achieving an eight-hour workday and pay of ten dollars a week—one dollar more than minimum wage at that time!

 

 

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SLU also has a collection of art that refers to the history being made today by high tech companies. Biotech research is the subject of Labyrinth, laminated glass panels that stand outside of the Center for Disease Research at 307 Westlake Avenue North. In this piece, artist Linda Beaumont incorporated chronographic representations of the genetic sequence of a lethal parasite that is being studied within the building. Dan Corson’s Nebulous, at 400 Ninth Avenue, refers to Seattle’s role in computer innovation and the fact that both the environmental and technological climates are changing. Note that the glass discs of his two cloud-like forms (which also refer to Seattle’s cloudy weather) electronically change levels of opacity and pulsate at varying rhythms.

With the complex grey column at Mercer Street and Boren Avenue, artist Ellen Sollod achieved her goal of creating a technology-oriented work for this multifaceted neighborhood of biotech and technical research companies. It’s called Origami Tessellation 324.3.4 (Fractured). Sollod also created other small works along Mercer, including a hatch cover in the sidewalk at the corner of Fairview Avenue and Mercer Street that features a spider and its web—Sollod’s reference to the worldwide web.

As you tour these and other artworks in SLU, keep in mind that there are over 300 other artworks readily available for viewing in Seattle’s public spaces. You may love some and dislike others, but you’ll never know unless you walk about and look.

 

 

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James M. Rupp is a Seattle native, long-time lawyer, and local historian who has been collecting information about art in Seattle’s public places for over forty years. Art in Seattle’s Public Spaces is his second book on the subject and was made possible by the generous support of the Michael J. Repass Fund for Northwest Writers.

Bringing Indigenous Artists to the Forefront

A student recently came by my office to talk about Atalie Unkalunt, a Cherokee vocal performer, lecturer, actor, and writer of the early twentieth century. Reading too quickly through an introductory email, I thought that the student perhaps meant Mary Ataloa McClenden, the legendary Chickasaw singer and teacher. While I’d never heard of Atalie, I’d run across Ataloa while researching American Indian concert vocalists for my 2004 book, Indians in Unexpected Places. There were a lot of these singers—Tsianina Redfeather, Princess Watawaso, Irene Eastman, Oskenonton, Yolachie, Falling Water, Sausa Carey, Kiutus Tecumseh, Carlisle Kawbawgam, to name just a few. Somehow, though, I’d missed Atalie Unkalunt, who was (despite sharing four out of six letters in her stage name) not Ataloa.

The moment reminded me of two issues central to my new book, Becoming Mary Sully: Toward an American Indian Abstract. First, no matter how well we think we understand our pasts, there are always individuals hidden to us, human footnotes in the flow of our narratives who are so deeply buried as to be invisible. I thought I knew the world of early twentieth-century Native vocal performers. But Atalie Unkalunt reminds me just how fragmentary my knowledge—our knowledge—really is. I have no doubt that more and more such performers will emerge, claiming space in the stories we tell.

Mary Sully—the professional name used by my great aunt Susan Deloria—may well offer the definitive example of such an invisible footnote of a person. Between the late 1920s and the mid-1940s, she made ravishingly beautiful, highly intelligent art that was shown to the world on perhaps four or five occasions. Her medium was colored pencil—the tools of an artist struggling with poverty—and her work followed a form that she called the “personality print,” a three-panel triptych that developed themes and iconographies across distinct styles—modernist abstraction, geometrical design patterns, and Native-influenced imagery and design. The personality print was quite literally meant to capture the essence of an individual, and Mary Sully focused her attention on an archive of popular culture celebrities—Babe Ruth, Helen Keller, Betty Boop, Bing Crosby, and 131 others. Like Atalie Unkalunt and Mary Sully herself, many of these people have now faded into deep-footnote obscurity. Who remembers Alice Fazende, the last Confederate widow, or Jesse Crawford, the “poet of the organ”?

The second issue Atalie Unkalunt pressed on me was that when we move people from the footnotes to the main text, there’s a good chance we change the very nature of the story. Here, too, I’ve found that Mary Sully matters. Indeed, in Becoming Mary Sully, I suggest the ways in which she’s a game-changing artist.

The story of early-mid-twentieth century Native American art has had a story not unlike the one I once told about Native musicians performing operatic arias and Indigenous melodies while garbed as Indian princesses and chiefs. In that story, in the first half of the twentieth century, Native crossover artists, supported by patrons, teachers, art markets, and schools, created new forms of art in New Mexico, Oklahoma, and elsewhere. Their work was brilliantly creative and technically excellent—but it was also circumscribed by the desire of non-Native supporters for a brand of primitivism that emphasized Indigenous pasts, “traditional” subject matter, flat perspectives, and featureless, timeless backgrounds.

Put Mary Sully’s work into this story and watch the narrative change. Her work reversed anti-modern primitivism (indeed, one might call it instead “anti-primitivist modernism!). In that sense, Sully asks us to rethink not simply a story about Native American art, but about the far more intimidating category “American Art” itself. For all its anonymity, Sully’s work sought out dialogue with artists we more easily place in the “American” canon: Aaron Douglas, Diego Rivera, Charles Demuth, Marsden Hartley. And when Mary Sully is read as something other than a footnote, we find ourselves contemplating a significant cohort of Indian women who made similar efforts to engage the wider world of American art: Edmonia Lewis, Angel De Cora, Wa Wa Cha, Tonita Pena, and many others.

These arguments might ring a familiar echo for those fortunate to have seen the recent Hilma auf Klint exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City: a previously obscure artist, lifted from the footnotes and, on the strength of the work, elevated into the main narrative of the invention of modernism, utterly transforming that story in the process. I’m not an art historian—but it seems to me that the world of art scholarship and appreciation is caught up in an amazing moment of footnote rescues and returns of the repressed. It’s a moment when Atalie Unkalunts and Mary Sullys have a chance to leap out of the past and take a second shot at the main texts and the master narratives that evaded them in life.


Philip J. Deloria (Dakota descent) is professor of history at Harvard University and the author of Indians in Unexpected Places and Playing Indian. His most recent book, coauthored with Alexander I. Olson, is American Studies: A User’s Guide. He is a trustee of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, where he chairs the Repatriation Committee; a former president of the American Studies Association; and an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Exhibitions on View: ‘Captive Light: The Life and Photography of Ella E. McBride’

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Ella McBride, Untitled (self-portrait with camera shadow), circa 1921. Gelatin silver print, 9¾ × 7⅜ inches. University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections, Janet Anderson Collection UW38940.

We are delighted to distribute the catalog, Captive Light: The Life and Photography of Ella E. McBride, to accompany the exhibition at the Tacoma Art Museum. The exhibition is on view through July 22, 2018.

Internationally acclaimed fine-art photographer Ella McBride (1862–1965) played an important role in the Northwest’s photography community and served as a key figure in the national and international pictorialist photography movements. Despite her many accomplishments, which included managing the photography studio of Edward S. Curtis and being an early member of the Seattle Camera Club, McBride is little known today. Captive Light: The Life and Photography of Ella E. McBride reconsiders her career and the larger pictorialist movement in the Northwest.

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Edward S. Curtis, Untitled, 1897. A party of Mazamas on the summit of Pinnacle Peak. Mount Rainier 1897 Collection, Mazamas Library and Historical Collections, VM1993-016 print03. [McBride is the woman in the center in the striped shirt, bow tie, and high crowned hat. Curtis is to her left, holding a camera, wearing glasses and a white neckerchief.]

An avid mountain climber, McBride was a member of the Mazamas, a Portland, Oregon mountaineering organization. She met Edward S. Curtis in 1897 when he was leading an ascent of Mt. Rainier. They became friends and Curtis convinced her to leave her teaching position to relocate to Seattle and assist him in his studio. She accepted, and by 1907, she was the manager of his studio. In 1916, she opened her own commercial studio, which she operated for more than thirty years.

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Ella McBride, ‘A Shirley Poppy,’ 1925. Gelatin silver print on Textura tissue, 9½ × 7¼ inches. Private collection. Photo © TAM, photo by Lou Cuevas. [‘A Shirley Poppy’ was shown in nineteen national and international salons.]

McBride embraced the painterly qualities of Pictorialist photography enthusiastically. In 1921, she participated in her first exhibition. During the 1920s, she was listed as one of the most exhibited Pictorialist photographers in the world. She was a prominent member of the Seattle Camera Club (active 1924–1929). She also worked as an advocate for the environment and cofounded the Seattle branch of the Soroptimist Club, an organization for business and professional women.

Unfortunately, her artistic ambitions were cut short by the realities of the Great Depression. Most of McBride’s photographs and negatives have been destroyed, but you can see some of her studio photos here.

Captive Light: The Life and Photography of Ella E. McBride surveys McBride’s development as an artist and her role in Washington’s early photography community through a selection of over sixty of her images of flowers, still lifes, portraits, and landscapes. This exhibition was organized by Tacoma Art Museum and is part of the museum’s Northwest Perspective Series. 

All images photo © TAM.

 

March 2018 News, Reviews, and Events

News

The University of Washington Press has an outstanding opening for an Editorial Assistant (job number 153892). Please help us get the word out to excellent candidates who are interested in getting into acquisitions!

We were thrilled to announce that starting March 1, 2018, the University of Washington Press joins the UW Libraries and reports to the vice provost of digital initiatives and dean of University Libraries, Lizabeth (Betsy) Wilson. The Press and the Libraries currently collaborate on a number of joint initiatives, and the Press has also published a number of books in association with the Libraries. Read the full press release on the UW Press Blog and more at Shelf Awareness Pro.

Monthly Giveaways

Reviews and Interviews

The Spokesman-Review publishes an opinion piece by The Spokane River editor Paul Lindholdt.

The Indian Express features an article by High-Tech Housewives author Amy Bhatt about how US immigration policy is impacting Indian families.

The Seattle Times mentions Seattle Walks by David B. Williams in a Lit Life column about the Seattle Public Library’s Peak Picks program.

Light reviews Nasty Women Poets edited by Grace Bauer and Julie Kane (dist. Lost Horse Press): “This anthology is the burn, the salve on the burn, and the funny story you make up years later to explain the scar.”—Barbara Egel

Kotaku Australia includes Black Women in Sequence by Deborah Elizabeth Whaley in a round-up of comics-related Black History Month reads (2/15/18). The author also gets a mention in a New York Times opinion piece (no book mention; 2/16/18), which is syndicated and translated at Gazeta do Povo.

UW Today / UW News highlights news that UW professor emeritus and UW Press author Quintard Taylor has been awarded the lifetime achievement award from the Washington State Historical Society. The Forging of a Black Community gets a mention.

Redmond Reporter features Looking for Betty MacDonald by Paula Becker.

The Forbes Science / #WhoaScience stream features the second edition of The Orphan Tsunami of 1700 by Brian F. Atwater, Satoko Musumi-Rokkaku, Kenji Satake, Yoshinobu Tsuji, Kazue Ueda, and David K. Yamaguchi (published with US Geological Survey, Department of the Interior): “A rather beautifully illustrated account.”—Robin Andrews

Above & Beyond publishes an article about ptarmigans by Michael Engelhard. Ice Bear gets a byline mention.

University of Montana News features Douglas H. MacDonald and Before Yellowstone.

The Fil-Am Magazine and Inquirer.net US review A Time to Rise edited by Rene Ciria Cruz, Cindy Domingo, and Bruce Occena: “For anyone looking to engage in the issues they believe in or find inspiration amid today’s discouraging headlines, the lessons shared by former KDP members in A Time to Rise are deeply impactful. . . . Detailed and informative, the memoirs in A Time to Rise hash out the struggles that made the difficult road to justice possible. . . . More than a list of achievements, A Time to Rise is personal.”—Renee Macalino Rutledge

Association of King County Historical Organization (AKCHO) Heritage Advisor / News features Frederick L. Brown and his 2017 AKCHO Virginia Marie Folkins Award-winning book The City Is More Than Human.

The Art Newspaper reviews No Idols by Thomas Crow (dist. for Power Publications):”The greatest value of No Idols is in its widest implication: that even if we try, we cannot rid ourselves of the past. Art, stripped of its religious foundations, lives on in a secular world, but ghostly remnants will always remain.”—Pac Pobric

International Examiner mentions Monica Sone’s Nisei Daughter and Yoshiko Uchida’s Desert Exile in a review of Jeanette Arakawa’s The Little Exile.

Live Science mentions Ancient Ink edited by Lars Krutak and Aaron Deter-Wolf in an article about newly published research on prehistoric tattooing. The article interviews lead researcher and book contributor Renée Friedman, and her team’s original article is published in the March 2018 issue of Journal of Archaeological Science.

Ethnic Seattle features Monica Sone and Nisei Daughter in a Women’s History Month round-up of women of color writers from Seattle.

Diplomacy’s Public Dimension reviews Mediating Islam by Janet Steele: “Steele brings the strengths of an accomplished journalism and media scholar and twenty years of field research in Southeast Asia to a book that explores important questions. . . . Not least among many contributions in this important study is the way the author, a self-described Western, secular, female scholar, has engaged in sustained, productive cross-cultural dialogue with journalists in majority Muslim countries, many of whom are not liberal or secular.”—Bruce Gregory

Panorama Television (PCTV) “Now Where Were We?” interviews Lorraine McConaghy about Free Boy. Stream the segment on YouTube.

Food Politics blogger Marion Nestle features The Organic Profit by Andrew N. Case.

The New York Times Lens section’s latest Race Stories piece by Maurice Berger features Al Smith’s life, work, and Seattle on the Spot (dist. for Museum of History and Industry).

Cool Green Science (the conservation science blog of The Nature Conservancy) reviews Razor Clams by David Berger: “An entertaining account, and guide, to the real fun of digging your own food in the beach. . . . Berger’s book is an excellent testimony that gathering is still an enriching, fun and tasty pursuit. Long may it be so.”—Matthew L. Miller

Science interviews Ted Pietsch, coauthor of the forthcoming Fishes of the Salish Sea, about first-ever footage of living anglerfish. More via UW News.

Santa Fe Council on International Relations interviews Janet Steele about Mediating Islam.

The Seattle Times Outdoors section features two (out of six) spring hikes from Seattle Walks by David B. Williams.

Humboldt State Now interviews Cutcha Risling Baldy and mentions We Are Dancing for You in a news release about the 32nd Annual California Indian Conference to be held at Humboldt State University on April 5 and April 6. She is chair of the conference organizing committee.

Science to the People rebroadcasts their interview with Dawn Day Biehler about Pests in the City.

New Books Network interviews Frederick L. Brown about The City Is More Than Human (posted on the NBn American Studies, American West, Environmental Studies, History, and Native American Studies channels).

The Booklist Reader features Carlos Bulosan’s America Is in the Heart and recommends additional contemporary Filipino-American fiction: “Carlos Bulosan’s America Is in the Heart is a cornerstone of classic Asian-American literature.”—Terry Hong

New Books

A Family History of Illness: Memory as Medicine
By Brett L. Walker

While in the ICU with a near-fatal case of pneumonia, Brett Walker was asked, “Do you have a family history of illness?”—a standard and deceptively simple question that for Walker, a professional historian, took on additional meaning and spurred him to investigate his family’s medical past. In this deeply personal narrative, he constructs a history of his body to understand his diagnosis with a serious immunological disorder, weaving together his dying grandfather’s sneaking a cigarette in a shed on the family’s Montana farm, blood fractionation experiments in Europe during World War II, and nineteenth-century cholera outbreaks that ravaged small American towns as his ancestors were making their way west.


Firebrand Feminism: The Radical Lives of Ti-Grace Atkinson, Kathie Sarachild, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, and Dana Densmore
By Breanne Fahs

Breanne Fahs brings together ten years of dialogue with four founders of the radical feminist movement and provides a timely and historically rich account of these audacious women and the lasting impact of their words and work.


Before Yellowstone: Native American Archaeology in the National Park
By Douglas H. MacDonald

Douglas MacDonald tells the long history of human presence in Yellowstone National Park as revealed by archaeological research into nearly 2,000 sites — many of which he helped survey and excavate. He describes and explains the significance of archaeological areas and helps readers understand the archaeological methods used and the limits of archaeological knowledge.


Olympic National Park: A Natural History, Fourth Edition
By Tim McNulty

In this updated classic guide to the park, Tim McNulty invites us into the natural and human history of thesenearly million acres and offers a detailed look at Elwha River restoration after the dam removal, inspiring descriptions of endangered species recovery, and practical advice on how to make the most of your visit.


The Spokane River
Edited by Paul Lindholdt

From Lake Coeur d’Alene to its confluence with the Columbia, the Spokane River travels 111 miles of varied and often spectacular terrain — rural, urban, in places wild. The twenty-eight contributors to this collection — including activists, storytellers, and scientists — profile this living river through personal reflection, history, science, and poetry.


Uplake: Restless Essays of Coming and Going
By Ana Maria Spagna

These engaging, reflective essays muse on rootedness, yearning, commitment, ambition, and wonder, and remind us to love what we have while encouraging us to still imagine what we want.


Cultivating Nature: The Conservation of a Valencian Working Landscape
By Sarah R. Hamilton
Foreword by Paul S. Sutter

Shifting between local struggles and global debates, this fascinating environmental history reveals how Franco’s dictatorship, Spain’s integration with Europe, and the crisis in European agriculture have shaped the Albufera Natural Park, its users, and its inhabitants.


Bringing Whales Ashore: Oceans and the Environment of Early Modern Japan
By Jakobina K. Arch
Foreword by Paul S. Sutter

In this vivid and nuanced study of how the Japanese people brought whales ashore during the Tokugawa period, Arch makes important contributions to both environmental and Japanese history by connecting Japanese whaling to marine environmental history in the Pacific, including the devastating impact of American whaling in the nineteenth century.


Transforming Monkey: Adaptation and Representation of a Chinese Epic
By Hongmei Sun

In this far-ranging study Hongmei Sun discusses the thousand-year evolution of Sun Wukong (aka Monkey or the Monkey King) in imperial China and multimedia adaptations in Republican, Maoist, and post-socialist China and the United States.


Medicine and Memory in Tibet: Amchi Physicians in an Age of Reform
By Theresia Hofer

Medicine and Memory in Tibet examines medical revivalism on the geographic and sociopolitical margins both of China and of Tibet’s medical establishment in Lhasa, exploring the work of medical practitioners, or amchi, and of Medical Houses in the west-central region of Tsang.


Making New Nepal: From Student Activism to Mainstream Politics
By Amanda Thérèse Snellinger

Based on extensive ethnographic research between 2003 and 2015, Making New Nepal provides a snapshot of an activist generation’s political coming-of-age during a decade of civil war and ongoing democratic street protests.


Mediating Islam: Cosmopolitan Journalisms in Muslim Southeast Asia
By Janet Steele

Broadening an overly narrow definition of Islamic journalism, Janet Steele examines day-to-day reporting practices of Muslim professionals, from conservative scripturalists to pluralist cosmopolitans, at five exemplary news organizations in Malaysia and Indonesia.


Buddhism Illuminated: Manuscript Art from South-East Asia
By San San May and Jana Igunma
Published with British Library

Buddhism Illuminated includes over one hundred examples of Buddhist art from the British Library’s rich collection, relating each manuscript to Theravada tradition and beliefs, and introducing the historical, artistic, and religious contexts of their production. It is the first book in English to showcase the beauty and variety of Buddhist manuscript art and reproduces many works that have never before been photographed.


Captive Light: The Life and Photography of Ella E. McBride
By Margaret E. Bullock and David F. Martin
Distributed for Tacoma Art Museum
Exhibition on view through July 8, 2018

Internationally acclaimed fine-art photographer Ella McBride (1862–1965) played an important role in the Northwest’s photography community and was a key figure in the national and international pictorialist photography movements. Despite her many accomplishments, which include managing the photography studio of Edward S. Curtis for many years and being an early member of the Seattle Camera Club, McBride is little known today. Captive Light reconsiders her career and the larger pictorialist movement in the Northwest. Captive Light is part of the Tacoma Art Museum’s Northwest Perspective Series on significant Northwest artists.


Julie Speidel: The Center Holds
By Matthew Kangas
Foreword by Rock Hushka
Distributed for Speidel Studio LLC

In this richly-illustrated monograph, the art of Julie Speidel is seen as one of myth and materiality, encompassing the creation more than four decades of numerous objects that inhabit a variety of locales and fulfill a wide variety of purposes. She has created sculpture in many different media and a variety of scale, as well as an impressive body of prints.

Events

MARCH

March 30, A Time to Rise edited by Rene Ciria Cruz, Cindy Domingo, and Bruce Occena, Bayanihan Community Center with Arkipelago Books, San Francisco, CA

March 30 at noon, Janet Steele, Mediating Islam, New York Southeast Asia Network and NYU Wagner’s Office of International Programs, New York, NY

APRIL

April 2 at 7 p.m., Shelley Drake Hawks, The Art of Resistance, University of Massachusetts, Amherst (UMass Amherst), History of Art & Architecture, Amherst, MA

April 2 at 7 p.m., Ingrid Walker, High, King County Library System – Des Moines Library, Des Moines, WA

April 5 at 7 p.m., Ana Maria Spagna, Uplake, Whitman College, Reid Ballroom, Walla Walla, WA

April 6 at 6 p.m., Bruce Guenther, Michael C. Spafford (dist. for Lucia | Marquand), Jacob Lawrence Gallery, Seattle, WA

April 7 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., Quin’Nita Cobbins, Paul de Barros, Howard Giske, Jacqueline E. A. Lawson, and Al “Butch” Smith, Jr., Seattle on the Spot (dist. for Museum of History and Industry), On the Spot Gallery Talk, Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI), Seattle, WA

April 7 at 10 a.m., Stevan Harrell, Ways of Being Ethnic in Southwest China, Saturday University: Textiles of Southwest China, Gardner Center for Asian Art and Ideas, University of Washington Jackson School of International Studies and Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle Art Museum, Plestcheeff Auditorium, Seattle, WA

April 8 at 3 p.m., Ana Maria Spagna, Uplake, Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA

April 9 at 4:30 p.m., Sylvanna Falcón, Power Interrupted, Wellesley College, 2018 Domna Stanton Lecture in Women’s and Gender Studies, Wellesley, MA

April 11 at 12:30 p.m., Paula Becker, Looking for Betty MacDonald, Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau, Garfield Senior Center, Pomeroy, WA

April 11 at noon, Janet Steele, Mediating Islam, George Washington University, Sigur Center for Asian Studies, Washington, DC

April 11 at 7 p.m., Nasty Women Poets edited by Grace Bauer and Julie Kane (dist. Lost Horse Press), GA Nasty Women Poets, Oglethorpe University Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA

April 13 at 7:30 p.m., Kathleen Alcalá, The Deepest Roots, with Donna Miscolta, Town Hall Seattle and Phinney Neighborhood Association, In Residence—History Is an Act of the Imagination, Taproot Theatre, Seattle, WA

April 14 at 10:30 a.m., Jennifer Ott, Waterway (dist. for HistoryLink), Redmond Historical Society, Old Redmond Schoolhouse, Redmond, WA ($5 suggested donation for Non-Members)

April 14, Eileen A. Bjorkman, The Propeller under the Bed, Oregon Aviation Historical Society, Cottage Grove, OR

April 17 at noon, Jakobina K. Arch, Bringing Whales Ashore, Whitman College, Whitman College Bookstore at Reid Campus Center, Young Ballroom, Walla Walla, WA

April 18 at 3 p.m., Shelley Drake Hawks, The Art of Resistance, Suffolk University, Boston, MA

April 19 at 3:30 p.m., Brett L. Walker, A Family History of Illness, University of Oregon, Department of History, Eugene, OR

April 21 at 3:30 p.m., Douglas H. MacDonald, Before Yellowstone, Historical Museum at Fort Missoula, Missoula, MT

April 23 at 5 p.m., Shelley Drake Hawks, The Art of Resistance, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA

April 26 at 3:30 p.m., Dorothy Ko, The Social Life of Inkstones, University of Washington, Seattle Campus, The East Asia Center and China Studies Program at the Jackson School of International Studies with the Seattle Art Museum, Thomson Hall,  Seattle, WA

April 26 at 7:30 p.m., Dorothy Ko, The Social Life of Inkstones, Asia Talks, Gardner Center for Asian Art and Ideas, Seattle Art Museum, Nordstrom Lecture Hall, Seattle, WA (Free with RSVP; Doors at 7 p.m., Talk begins at 7:30 p.m.)

April 27 at 11:15 a.m., Marisol Berríos-Miranda, Shannon Dudley, and Michelle Habell-Pallán, American Sabor, MoPOP, Pop Conference 2018, Roundtable: Making American Sabor, Seattle, WA

April 27 at 5 p.m., David Berger, Razor Clams, Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau, Timberland Regional Library – Raymond Library, Raymond, WA

April 27 – September 2, Adman edited by Nicholas Chambers (dist. Art Gallery of New South Wales), Exhibition, The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA

April 27-28, Ana Maria Spagna, Uplake, Get Lit! Festival, Eastern Washington University, Spokane, WA (Tickets on sale March 27 at 10 a.m. PST)

April 28 at 10:30 a.m., David Berger, Razor Clams, Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau, Timberland Regional Library – South Bend Library, South Bend, WA

April 28 at 2 p.m., David Berger, Razor Clams, Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau, Timberland Regional Library – Naselle Library, Naselle, WA

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February 2018 News, Reviews, and Events

News

The 2018 Patrick D. Hanan Book Prize for Translation (China and Inner Asia) will be awarded to Steven Durrant, Wai-yee Li, and David Schaberg as co-translators of Zuo Tradition / Zuozhuan. The 2018 Awards Ceremony will take place at the AAS conference in Washington, DC on Friday, March 23. The biennial prize was first awarded in 2016 – Xiaofei Tian won the inaugural Hanan Prize for Translation for The World of a Tiny Insect by Zhang Daye – so UW Press authors have won all prize rounds to date. Congratulations to the translators, series editors, UW Press executive editor Lorri Hagman, and all involved!

Please join us in welcoming a couple of new hires to the Press. Michael O. Campbell, most recently US sales manager at Lone Pine Publishing, is our new sales and marketing director. Neal Swain has joined us as contracts and intellectual property manager. She comes to us from Wales Literary Agency, where she will continue as assistant agent.

Monthly Giveaways

Reviews and Interviews

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner selects The Tao of Raven by Ernestine Hayes as one of their best Alaska books of 2017: “The Tao of Raven is likely the most thoughtful book you’ll read all year, memoir or otherwise.”—Addley Fannin


VICE interviews High author Ingrid Walker about drug policy and use.


UW News features a Q&A with American Sabor authors Marisol Berríos-Miranda, Shannon Dudley, and Michelle Habell-Pallán.


Northwest Asian Weekly features The Hope of Another Spring by Barbara Johns: “Her work puts us in Fujii’s time and place, a gift to those who lived through that time, and to those who have only a sketchy idea of the reality of the Issei experience as told through Fujii’s words and art.”—Laura Rehrmann


The Washington Post / Made By History publishes an op-ed by Emilie Raymond on the history of celebrity civil rights activism. Stars for Freedom, out in paperback this spring, gets a byline mention.


Reading Religion reviews The Jewish Bible by David Stern: “This is a fascinating, engaging, and instructive volume. The breadth of topics and traditions covered is vast, and Stern’s knowledge of and research on these issues is remarkable. Beyond the content, the volume is beautifully illustrated, with over 80 color images illuminating the various topics. A study on the materiality of the Jewish scriptures needed to be written, and we can all be thankful that it was Stern who took up the task.”—Bradford A. Anderson

KUOW interviews Kevin Craft about Vagrants & Accidentals. Poetry correspondent Elizabeth Austen and Bill Radke discuss “Matinee” and Craft reads “For the Climbers” and “Borders without Doctors.”


3rd Act Magazine reviews Walking Washington’s History by Judy Bentley (Winter 2018): “Even if you don’t leave your comfy chair, you’ll learn much more about Washington in this interesting book.”—Julie Fanselow


The Conversation features an article by Amy Bhatt, author of the forthcoming High-Tech Housewives, and UMBC colleague Dillon Mahmoudi about the likely effects of Amazon’s HQ2 on local diversity, equity, and quality of life.


Somatosphere publishes a book forum on Tracing Autism by Des Fitzgerald.

New Books

American Sabor: Latinos and Latinas in US Popular Music / Latinos y latinas en la musica popular estadounidense
By Marisol Berríos-Miranda, Shannon Dudley, and Michelle Habell-Pallán
Translated by Angie Berríos Miranda

With side-by-side Spanish and English text, this book traces the substantial musical contributions of Latinas and Latinos in American popular music between World War II and the present in five vibrant centers of Latin@ musical production: New York, Los Angeles, San Antonio, San Francisco, and Miami.

Ancient Ink: The Archaeology of Tattooing
Edited by Lars Krutak and Aaron Deter-Wolf

This first book dedicated to the archaeological study of tattooing, presents new research from across the globe examining tattooed human remains, tattoo tools, and ancient art.  Ancient Ink connects ancient body art traditions to modern culture through Indigenous communities and the work of contemporary tattoo artists.


The Art of Resistance: Painting by Candlelight in Mao’s China
By Shelley Drake Hawks

Drawing on interviews with the artists and their families, this art history surveys the lives of seven fiercely independent painters during China’s Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), a time when they were considered counterrevolutionary and were forbidden to paint.


Slapping the Table in Amazement: A Ming Dynasty Story Collection
By Ling Mengchu
Translated by Shuhui Yang and Yunqin Yang
Introduction by Robert E. Hegel

The unabridged English translation of the famous story collection Pai’an jingqi by Ling Mengchu (1580-1644), originally published in 1628.


Many Faces of Mulian: The Precious Scrolls of Late Imperial China
By Rostislav Berezkin

The story of Mulian rescuing his mother’s soul from hell has evolved as a narrative over several centuries in China, especially in the baojuan (precious scrolls) genre. This exploration of the story’s evolution illuminates changes in the literary and religious characteristics of the genre.


Forming the Early Chinese Court: Rituals, Spaces, Roles
By Luke Habberstad

This pioneering study of early Chinese court culture shows that a large, but not necessarily cohesive, body of courtiers drove the consolidation, distribution, and representation of power in court institutions.


Down with Traitors: Justice and Nationalism in Wartime China
By Yun Xia

Built on previously unexamined documents, this history reveals how the hanjian (“traitors to the Han Chinese”) were punished in both legal and extralegal ways and how the anti-hanjian campaigns captured the national crisis, political struggle, roaring nationalism, and social tension of China’s eventful decades from the 1930s through the 1950s.


Christian Krohg’s Naturalism
By Oystein Sjastad

The definitive account of Norwegian painter, novelist, and social critic Christian Krohg (1825-1925) and his art.  Sjastad examines the theories of Krohg and his fellow naturalists and their reception in Scandinavian intellectual circles, viewing Krohg from an international perspective and demonstrating how Krohg’s art made a striking contribution to European naturalism.


Sacred to the Touch: Nordic and Baltic Religious Wood Carving
By Thomas A. DuBois

This beautifully illustrated study of six twentieth- and twenty-first-century artists reveals the interplay of tradition with personal and communal identity that characterize modern religious carving in Northern Europe.


Gender before Birth: Sex Selection in a Transnational Context
By Rajani Bhatia

Based on extensive fieldwork, this book looks at how sex selective assisted reproduction technologies in the West and non-West are divergently named and framed. Bhatia’s resulting analysis extends both feminist theory on reproduction and feminist science and technology studies.


Seattle on the Spot: The Photographs of Al Smith
By Quin’Nita Cobbins, Paul de Barros, Howard Giske, Jacqueline E. A. Lawson, and Al “Butch” Smith, Jr.
Distributed for The Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI)
Exhibition on view through June 17, 2018

Al Smith’s photography chronicled the jazz clubs, family gatherings, neighborhood events, and individuals who made up Seattle’s African American community in the mid-twentieth century. This companion book to the exhibition at MOHAI features highlights from Smith’s legacy along with reflections from historians, scholars, friends, and family members.

Events

FEBRUARY

February 8 at 7 p.m., Shelley Drake Hawks, The Art of Resistance, Three Stones Gallery, Concord, MA (Snow date: February 9 at 7 p.m.)

February 8 at 7:30 p.m., Thomas Crow, No Idols (dist. Power Publications), Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA

February 9 at 2 p.m., Heidi R. M. Pauwels, Mobilizing Krishna’s World, UW South Asia Center, Thomson 317, Seattle, WA

February 11 at 2 p.m., Frederica Bowcutt, The Tanoak Tree, Grace Hudson Museum and the Sanhedrin Chapter of the California Native Plant Society, Ukiah, CA

February 15 at 7 p.m., Nasty Women Poets edited by Grace Bauer and Julie Kane (dist. Lost Horse Press), SoulFood Poetry Night, Redmond, WA

February 18 at 3 p.m., Shelley Drake Hawks, The Art of Resistance, DIESEL, A Bookstore, Santa Monica, CA

February 23 at 7 p.m., Nasty Women Poets edited by Grace Bauer and Julie Kane (dist. Lost Horse Press), Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA

February 24 at 9 a.m., Ernestine Hayes, The Tao of Raven, 2018 Search for Meaning Festival, Seattle University with Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA

February 24 at 2;45 p.m., Lorraine K. Bannai, Enduring Conviction, 2018 Search for Meaning Festival, Seattle University with Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA

February 24 at 3:30 p.m., Eileen A. Bjorkman, The Propeller under the Bed, Northwest Aviation Conference, Puyallup, WA

February 25 at 1:30 p.m., Eileen A. Bjorkman, The Propeller under the Bed, Northwest Aviation Conference, Puyallup, WA

February 25 at 3 p.m., David Berger, Razor Clams, Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau, Fairwood Library, Renton, WA

February 27 at 4 p.m., Amanda Thérèse Snellinger, Making New Nepal, UW South Asia Center, Seattle, WA

February 27 at 7 p.m., Paul de Barros, Jackson Street After Hours, The Black and Tan: Reimagining Seattle’s Legendary Jazz Club, Museum of History and Industry in partnership with the Black and Tan Hall, Seattle, WA ($5 for MOHAI members / $10 general public)

February 28 at 12:30 p.m., Ingrid Walker, High, Publish and Flourish, Sponsored by UW Office of Research, University Book Store Tacoma, and UW Tacoma Library, Tioga Library, Tacoma, WA

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