Recent Books | December 1998

Across Frontiers southwest art.

By Donna Tennant

Across Frontiers: Hispanic Crafts of New Mexico
By Dexter Cirillo

For four centuries, artisans of Chimayó, Códova, Truchas, Las Trampas, Talpa, and other New Mexico villages have been creating crafts in the tradition of their Spanish forebears. This survey of the thriving Hispanic craft movement in the Southwest begins by tracing the roots and revival of arts brought to Mexico and the United States by Spanish settlers. More than 80 contemporary artists are profiled, with pictures of many of them included. There are chapters on Rio Grande weaving, finely crafted woodwork and furniture, imaginative tin work, straw appliqué, and santero art (likenesses of Catholic saints). Author Dexter Cirillo is an independent scholar, curator, and art dealer who has led study groups to Mexico and Spain and traveled extensively throughout the Southwest during the past 30 years. She lives in Colorado.

1998 Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA, 160 pages, 155 illustrations, 41 in color, $35 hardbound (ISBN 0-8118-1793-8), $22.95 softbound (ISBN 0-8118-1774-1)

Pueblo Artists southwest art.

Pueblo Artists: Portraits
By Toba Pato Tucker

When the author traveled from her home in Los Angeles to New Mexico in 1995 to begin  photographing pueblo artists, she sought out Native American families who work together creatively, passing along traditions from one generation to the next. “I wanted to portray them as the unique individuals they are—and to honor them,” Tucker writes.

Tucker lived in Santa Fe for two and a half years, traveling to such pueblos as Taos, Santa Clara, Nambé, Cochiti, Zia, Acoma, and Zuni. She photographed potters, jewelers, weavers, painters, and sculptors; some are pictured with their work, others with their families, still others with their horses and dogs. All of the portraits are elegant and respectful.

In accompanying essays, Alfred Bush, curator of the Princeton Collections of Western Americana, traces the history of portrait-making among the pueblos, and architectural historian and Santa Clara native Rina Swentzell discusses the changing role of the individual artist in contemporary pueblo life.

1998 Museum of New Mexico Press, Santa Fe (ISBN 0-89013-363-8), 160 pages, 135 duotones, $55 hardbound

Chihuly. southwest art.

By Donald Kuspit

This monograph devoted to the glass sculpture of Dale Chihuly is amazingly beautiful. And though the essay by distinguished art critic Donald Kuspit is first-rate, it is the large color photographs of the artist’s seemingly impossible glass creations that leave the reader breathless.

In an introduction titled “Ecstasies of the Mind and Senses,” Jack Cowart describes Chihuly as a luminist. “He uses glass as a literal and metaphorical prism through which he projects both ambient and intense theatrical light to produce sublime, luminous effects,” Cowart writes. This is apparent in everything from a single elegant vessel to Chihuly’s daunting public commissions, which include ambitious theater sets, outdoor installations with neon and ice, hanging chandeliers suspended from bridges in Venice, and crystal baubles floating in the Lake Washington Ship Canal. There’s no one like Chihuly, and this full-scale study of his work proves it.

1997 Harry N. Abrams, New York City (ISBN 0-8109-6336-1), 336 pages, 273 illustrations, 223 in color, $60 hardbound

Sacred Fire. southwest art.

Sacred Fire: Poetry and Prose by Nancy Wood
Paintings by Frank Howell

This is the final collaboration between author Nancy Wood and the late artist Frank Howell, in which his paintings of Native Americans are paired with her related poems and prose. According to Indian legend, there was an old man who once lived in an ancient pueblo. It was the old man’s job to keep the “sacred fire” burning so that the Indian people could remember the ways of their ancestors. Through the story of the old man, Wood chronicles the history, religion, legends, and philosophy of the pueblo Indians. Howell’s paintings serve as the perfect accompaniment. Previous collaborative projects include Spirit Walker, Dancing Moons, and Shaman’s Circle.

1998 Doubleday, New York City (ISBN  0-385-32515-0), 80 pages, 25 color illustrations, $25 hardbound

Bunnies in My Head: Artwork by the Children of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
By Tricia Tusa

The Children’s Art Project at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX, is celebrating 25 years of sharing young cancer patients’ artwork through holiday greeting cards by publishing its first book, Bunnies in My Head. To order copies, call 800.231.1580 or 713.792.6266.

1998 The Children’s Art Project, Houston, TX (ISBN 0-9664551-8-5), 32 pages, 20 color illustrations, $20 hardbound.

Featured in Decembe 1998