Jessica Horton, University of Rochester and Lucy Mulroney, Syracuse University

Center for American History and Culture Programs
American Art and Visual Culture Seminar
Friday, March 22, 2013

2 pm to 5 pm

Towner Fellow’s Lounge

“Playing in Paris: Native American Artists and the Hand-Painted Poster”
Jessica Horton, University of Rochester

In 1935, Native American artists at the Santa Fe Indian Studio School painted 200 posters and rushed them to Paris to advertise an exhibition of their paintings, Art Peau-Rouge d’aujourd’hui (Art of the Redskin Today) at the Museum national d’Histoire naturelle on the Trocadero. In kiosks and store windows, Parisians came upon French typeface framing singular, brilliantly hued images of tipis, equestrians, and ritual dancers. This paper explores the multivocality of posters in the context of transatlantic art, performance culture, and politics between the wars, situating indigenous artistic agencies within early twentieth century networks of international travel and intercultural exchange.

“Andy Warhol and the American Photobook”
Lucy Mulroney, Syracuse University

Andy Warhol’s 1985 photobook, entitled simply, America, presents readers with a dichotomy. Warhol tells us there are two Americas. There is the lived-in one—the political, social, and geographic reality—in which people find themselves situated, and there is the fantasy America. We live in the fantasy, Warhol tells us, just as much as we live in the real America. While the text of Warhol’s book drips with mock nostalgia, it visually articulates this double America through a sequence of black-and-white photographs. Contending that Warhol’s mass-produced “coffee table book” is too easily dismissed as a tabloid version of the American photo-documentary tradition, this paper explores how America presents and then inverts symbols of national identity while simultaneously exploiting and parodying Warhol’s iconicity and authorial voice.

Commentator: Elizabeth McGoey, Indiana University

Cost and registration information: 

Scholl Center Seminar papers are pre-circulated electronically.  For a copy of the paper, e-mail the Scholl Center at scholl@newberry.org.  Please do not request a paper unless you plan to attend.