Synopses & Reviews
American Folk Art: A Regional Reference
offers a collection of fascinating essays on the life and work of 300 individual artists. Some of the men and women profiled in these two volumes are well known, while others are important practitioners who have yet to receive the notice they merit. Because many of the artists in both categories have a clear identity with their land and culture, the work is organized by geographical region and includes an essay on each region to help make connections visible. There is also an introductory essay on U.S. folk art as a whole.
Those writing about folk art to date tend to view each artist as either traditional or innovative. One of the major contributions of this work is that it demonstrates that folk artists more often exhibit both traits; they are grounded in their cultural context and creative in the way they make work their own. Such insights expand the study of folk art even as they readjust readers' understanding of who folk artists are.
"These volumes, celebrating human inventiveness and identifying artists whose work deserves regard, are as worthwhile for inspiring potential folk artists as for researchers." -
"Recommended for academic libraries that support art programs, particularly those with a strong regional focus." -
"This is an excellent resource for art, American studies, folklore, and art therapy collections. Summing Up: Highly recommended." -
"Scholars and students often find it easier to locate biographies of so-called fine artists rather than folk artists, and this two-volume set should be a great aid not only for research into art, folklife, and material culture, but also to regional and American studies." -
Folk art is as varied as it is indicative of person and place, informed by innovation and grounded in cultural context. The variety and versatility of 300 American folk artists is captured in this collection of informative and thoroughly engaging essays.
• Provides important insights into the creative work of 300 folk artists in the United States, some of whom have not previously received attention
• Places folk artists in their regional contexts, providing the reader with insights into the importance of place for creative work
• Redefines folk art by placing artists previously considered "traditional" among artists depicted as "innovative," demonstrating that all distinguished folk artists exhibit both qualities
• Introduces students to remarkable and inspirational artists, many of whom were self-taught or learned from family members or their cultures
• Includes all visual artists who received a National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship through 2010
• 300 essays on folk artists from all over the United States, organized alphabetically within geographical region
• Introductory essays for each of the five regional sections
• Numerous photographs of the works of many artists profiled
• A glossary of over 100 terms, such as "quirts" and "whirlygigs"
• A list of museums and galleries by region and a list of artists by media
• An extensive bibliography including works from the fields of folklore, art history, and art criticism, as well as catalogs from major museum and gallery exhibitions