TOWNSEND-GAULT, Charlotte




Author Tags: Art

It’s one of the biggest books ever published in B.C., if not the biggest. Due in July, 2013, at 960 pages, Native Art of the Northwest Coast: A History of Changing Ideas (UBC Press $195) spans 250 years of writing about Northwest Coast art. The excerpted texts from both published and unpublished sources, some not previously available in English, are arranged thematically. The editors are UBC history and visual arts professor Charlotte Townsend-Gault, Museum of Anthropology curator and anthropologist Jennifer Kramer and Nuuchaanulth historian and poet Ki-ke-in who has forty years experience as a speaker and ritualist. According to reviewer Michelle Paquette of the Frick Fine Arts Library in ARLIS/NA Reviews, “This work is an anthology, akin to improvisational jazz...embroidered around a core theme...but allowing every contributor remarkable latitude, creativity, and individuality. Subtitled "A history of changing ideas," it indeed questions many long-held assumptions in the field, and posits fresh notions on contemporaneity. It also works to suggest what might be appropriate, respectful, and well-informed means of appreciating, sharing, and studying ceremonial objects, and the Native Northwest cultures which imbued them with life...it is rare indeed that one encounters a book with the capacity to make the reader feel woefully uninformed, while simultaneously tempering with the unflinchingly illustrative personal narratives of Native elders, Haida manga, and thought-provoking arguments on cultural patrimony...to the degree that any criticism can be made of this volume, it would only be that its sheer size may deter the casual observer who sees it on a shelf. This would truly be a shame, since its wealth of information, multiplicity of perspectives, diversity of opinion, and review of historical literature make it a terrific resource for any library.” 9780774820493

As an associate professor of art history at University of British Columbia, Townsend-Gault previously co-edited Bill Reid and Beyond with Karen Duffek. She co-curated Land, Spirit, Power: First Nations at the National Gallery of Canada in 1992, and she co-wrote Rebecca Belmore: The Named and the Unnamed (Vancouver: Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, UBC, 2003).

BOOKS:

Native Art of the Northwest Coast: A History of Changing Ideas (UBC Press 2014) $75.00 978-0-7748-2050-9

Review of the author's work by BC Studies:
Native Art of the Northwest Coast: A History of Changing Ideas

[BCBW 2014 "Art"]