Not Native American Art
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Fakes, Replicas, and Invented Traditions
by Janet Catherine Berlo
The faking of Native American art objects has proliferated as their commercial value has increased, but even a century ago experts were warning that the faking of objects ranging from catlinite pipes to Chumash sculpture was rampant. Through a series of historical and contemporary case studies, Janet Catherine Berlo engages with troubling and sometimes confusing categories of inauthenticity.
Based on decades of research as well as interviews with curators, collectors, restorers, replica makers, reenactors, and Native artists and cultural specialists, Not Native American Art examines the historical and social contexts within which people make replicas and fakes or even invent new objects that then become "traditional." Berlo follows the unexpected trajectories of such objects, including Northwest Coast carvings, "Navajo" rugs made in Mexico, Zuni mask replicas, Lakota-style quillwork, and Mimbres bowl forgeries.
With engaging anecdotes, the book offers a rich and nuanced understanding of a surprisingly wide range of practices that makers have used to produce objects that are "not Native American art."