Author Tags: Anthropology, Art, First Nations
Bill Holm, Professor Emeritus of Art History, and Curator Emeritus of Northwest Coast Indian Art at the Burke Museum, is recognized internationally as one of the most knowledgeable experts in the field of Northwest Coast Aboriginal art history. His Northwest Coast Indian Art: An Analysis of Form (1965), co-written with George Irving Quimby, is one of the best-selling books published by the University of Washington Press. The study is credited with having drawn a remarkable number of artists into their own practice of Northwest Coast art, and his classes at the University of Washington broadened the understanding and appreciation of that art in several generations of students. Holm’s eight books have won scholarly acclaim and recognition with four Washington State Governor's Writers Awards, and two special Governor's awards. They include Beak of Heaven; Masks and Other Ceremonial Art of the Northwest Coast (1972), Indian Art of the Northwest Coast: A Dialogue on Craftsmanship and Aesthetics (1975) with Bill Reid, Edward S. Curtis in the Land of the War Canoes: A Pioneer Cinematographer in the Pacific Northwest (1980) with George Irving Quimby, The Box of Daylight: Northwest Coast Indian Art (1983), Smoky-Top: The Art and Times of Willie Seaweed (1983) and Spirit and Ancestor: A Century of Northwest Coast Indian Art at the Burke Museum (1987) with Eduardo Calderon. Holm’s achievements as an artist were celebrated in Sun Dogs and Eagle Down, The Indian Paintings of Bill Holm (2000). In 2001, he was honored with a certificate of appreciation from the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian people of Southeast Alaska through the Sealaska Heritage Institute. The Native American Art Studies Association recognized him with its Honor Award in 1991. The University of Washington gave him a Distinguished Achievement Award from the College of Arts and Sciences in 1994, and selected him to give the annual University Faculty Lecture in 2003. Also in 2003, the Burke Museum established the Bill Holm Center for the Study of Northwest Coast Art to honor his career.
Review of the author's work by BC Studies:
The Box of Daylight
Holm Bill. Northwest Coast Indian Art: An Analysis of Form (University of Washington Press, 1965; Douglas & McIntyre, 1978; UBC Press 2014).
Holm Bill. Crooked Beak of Heaven; Masks and Other Ceremonial Art of the Northwest Coast (University of Washington, 1972).
Holm Bill & Bill Reid. Indian Art of the Northwest Coast: A Dialogue on Craftsmanship and Aesthetics (Institute for Arts, Rice University, 1975).
Holm Bill & George Irving Quimby. Edward S. Curtis in the Land of the War Canoes: A Pioneer Cinematographer in the Pacific Northwest (University of Washington Press, 1980).
Holm Bill & contributors. The Box of Daylight: Northwest Coast Indian Art (Seattle Art Museum/University of Washington Press, 1983).
Holm Bill. Smoky-Top: The Art and Times of Willie Seaweed (University of Washington Press, 1983).
Holm Bill & Eduardo Calderon. Spirit and Ancestor: A Century of Northwest Coast Indian Art at the Burke Museum (Burke Museum/Douglas & McIntyre, 1987).
Brown, Steven C. Sun Dogs & Eagle Down: The Indian Paintings of Bill Holm (University of Washington Press/Douglas & McIntyre, 2000).Chronology & bibliography by Lloyd J. Averill, captions by Bill Holm.
[Alan Twigg / BCBW 2005] "Art" "Anthropology" "First Nations"
University of Washington biography
"The world of Northwest Coast Indian art and culture opened to 12-year-old Bill Holm when he first entered the Washington State Museum, now the Burke Museum. Befriended by the director, Dr. Erna Gunther, staff, and graduate students, he haunted the ethnological collections. Following army service in World War II, with a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Washington, he taught at Lincoln High School in Seattle where he headed the Art Department. His ground-breaking research in the structure of the two-dimensional art of the northern Northwest Coast resulted in his first book, Northwest Coast Indian Art: an Analysis of Form. A close association with Native traditionalists led to participation in ceremonial activities and further research on material culture. Much of this research has been experiential, utilizing Native materials and techniques.
"From 1968 to 1985 Bill Holm was a curator at the Burke Museum and taught in Art History and Anthropology, with classes covering two-dimensional, sculptural, and dramatic arts of the Northwest Coast. His photographs of Northwest Coast objects in over 100 museums in 17 countries formed the basis for a research archive published by the Burke Museum in videodisc format, now in the process of rescanning to CD.
"Bill Holm has curated exhibits at the Burke Museum, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Henry Gallery, the Seattle Art Museum, and the Pacific Science Center. He served on the planning committees for the Northwest Coast volume of the Smithsonian's Handbook of the North American Indian, and the exhibit Crossroads of Continents, a joint project of the Smithsonian Institution and the Soviet Academy of Sciences. He has served on the Editorial Board of the American Indian Art Magazine since its inception in 1975 and as consultant to many museums across North America and Europe. Professor Holm has published eight books and many articles. In 2000, Sun Dogs and Eagle Down: The Indian Paintings of Bill Holm, by Steven Brown and Lloyd Averill, was published by the University of Washington Press
"Bill Holm has received four Washington State Governor's Writers Awards, a Governor's Writers Day Special Award, and a Governor's Art Award. He was awarded the Native American Art Studies Association Honor Award in 1991, the University of Washington College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Achievement Award in 1994, and a Certificate of Appreciation from the Sealaska Heritage Institute on behalf of the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian people of Alaska in 2002.
"In the fall of 2002, the effort to create the Bill Holm Center for the Study of Northwest Coast Art at the Burke Museum was launched. An endowment campaign is underway to assure the continuation in perpetuity of Bill Holm's remarkable achievements at the University of Washington since 1968 in teaching, in research, and in the enrichment of the Museum's collections."
The Burke Museum is located at the corner of NE 45th St and 17th Ave NE, on the University of Washington campus.