Judith Ostrowitz, Interventions: Native American Art for Far-Flung Territories (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2009)

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Book Review

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Judith Ostrowitz’s first book, Privileging the Past: Reconstructing History in Northwest Coast Art (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1999), took as its subject the complex relationships to tradition maintained by contemporary native artists in the Pacific Northwest as they produce new artworks for a multicultural audience. Ostrowitz’s second book, Interventions: Native American Art for Far-flung Territories, pursues the related question of how contemporary native artists situate their work in global venues (which are by definition cross-cultural) and how contemporary native artists mediate between local tribal demands for the protection of indigenous knowledge and cultural property and the ravenous hunger for all things native in the global cultural marketplace. Citing the formative work on the traffic in indigenous cultural production by Janet Berlo, Ruth Phillips, and J. J. Brody, Ostrowitz notes that efforts to employ material culture and the visual arts as vehicles for intercultural communication and native agency have been a hallmark of indigenous modernity (Janet Catherine Berlo, ed., Plains Indian Drawings, 1865–1935: Pages from a Visual History, New York: Abrams. 1996; Ruth B. Phillips, Trading Identities: The Souvenir in Native North American Art from the Northeast, 1700–1900, Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1999; J. J. Brody, Pueblo Indian Painting: Tradition and Modernity in New Mexico, 1900–1930, Santa Fe: School of American Research Press, 1997).

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