Shapeshifting: Transformations in Native American Art

Hardcover | February 7, 2012

EditorKaren Kramer Russell

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Public perception of Native American art and culture has often been derived from misunderstandings and misinterpretations, and from images promulgated by popular culture. Typically, Native Americans are grouped as a whole and their art and culture considered part of the past rather than widely present. Shapeshifting challenges these assumptions by focusing on the objects as art rather than cultural or anthropological artifacts and on the multivalent creativity of Native American artists. The approach highlights the inventive contemporaneity that existed in all periods and continues today. More than 75 works in a wide range of media and scale are organized into four thematic groups: changing—expanding the imagination; knowing—expressing worldview; locating—exploring identity and place; and voicing—engaging the individual. The result is a paradigm shift in understanding Native American art.

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Public perception of Native American art and culture has often been derived from misunderstandings and misinterpretations, and from images promulgated by popular culture. Typically, Native Americans are grouped as a whole and their art and culture considered part of the past rather than widely present. Shapeshifting challenges these as...

Karen Kramer Russell is curator of Native American art and culture at the Peabody Essex Museum and president of the Native American Art Studies Association.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:248 pages, 11.5 × 10 × 0.98 inPublished:February 7, 2012Publisher:Yale University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0300177321

ISBN - 13:9780300177329

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“If I could, I would urge all Americans to read this text, for as the title suggests, their perceptions of Native peoples may become as transformed in their understanding as the art itself has transformed through the span of time.”—Jeremy W. H. Arnold, Religious Studies