THIS PATH WE TRAVEL: CELEBRATIONS OF CONTEMPORARY NATIVE AMERICAN CREATIVITY; National Museum of the American Indian; Fulcrum Publishing, 350 Indiana St., Suite 350, Golden, CO 80401, (800) 992-2908, (303) 279-7111 FAX, in associa tion with the National Museum of the American Indian. Illustrated (60 total, 40 in color), appendix, notes, lists of exhibitions. 128 pp., $24.95 cloth (1-55591-205-2), $18.95 paper (1-55591-208-7)

This is a beautiful book, and most of the pictures are well referenced and described. Not so the text. Scattered through it ar very short essays by Native people, generally not about the artwork. almost indistinguishable where one stops another begins -- essays not included in the table of contents, with authors identified only by intials, these essays actually discuss the artworks and the peoples, where the Native essays appear to be evocative outtakes from some other book. It is a good read, but you don't know who you're reading and the table of contents is mum on the subject, very odd for a museum publication. The index is good (if you know Native art well enough to look things up in it), and the quality of pictures is also good. The book does not have an identifiable theme, but is a chaotic compilation by many different authors, most of them unidentified. As a museum show catalog, it is adequate (if pricey) because it does give full (musum-type) particulars on most of the objects pictured. As a book it is incoherent and not much good for anything other than the pictures. It is notworthy that the New York Museum of th American Indian, which opened a couple of years ago in the renovated Old Customs Hous, seems to have recycled the essays and other work of a number of Native people asked to consult for this purpose in 1991. Thus several of its initial publications seem to overlap and appear repetitive. The relatively low-cost paperbacks, whose essays actually are written by Indian authors rather than having ben redigsted and chopped around into othr material, seem preferable when difficult purchase choices must be made. This is not really a reference book; it does have a large selction of high-quality color illustrations of Native crafts and fine arts from many cultures and periods. You may se a few xamples of poorly-reproduced pix (and some excerpts of the text) on the Creation's Journey wb page of NMAI. Reviewed by Paula Giese.

File: art2007

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Native American BOOKS, text and graphics copyright Paula Giese, 1996

Last Updated: Monday, October 28, 1996 - 4:07:17 AM