Carvings and Commerce

Model Totem Poles, 1880-2010

Michael D. Hall and Pat Glascock

  • paperback not available
  • $59.95 hardcover (9780295991498) Add to Cart
  • Published: 2011
  • Subject Listing: Native American and Indigenous Studies; Art History / Native American and Indigenous Art
  • Bibliographic information: 224 pp., 300 color illus., 9 x 12 in.
  • Published with: Mendel Art Gallery
  • Contents

Native carvers supplying curios for the Pacific Northwest souvenir trade in the late 1800s created the first model totem poles. Over time, totem poles came to be perceived as generalized icons of "Indian life" and Native groups all across North America began making model totems for the ever-expanding tourism industry that attended the popularization of automobile travel. By the middle of the 20th century, totems were being produced by a variety of non-Native groups, including Boy Scouts and hobby crafters. Today, Native artists in both the United States and Canada have revitalized the model totem pole tradition, sharing it with a growing fine art audience.

Carvings and Commerce recreates an exhibition at the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon, Canada, in the summer of 2010, which traced the history of model totem poles from the end of the 19th century to the present time. A group of internationally recognized scholars and artists examine the issues of politics, economics, cultural identity, tradition, and aesthetics that have shaped the evolution of the model totem pole for over a hundred and thirty years.
Michael D. Hall and Pat Glascock are artists and collectors. Other contributors include Robert Davidson, Kate Duncan, Charlotte Townsend-Gault, Aaron Glass, Aldona Jonaitis, and Christopher W. Smith.

"Carvings and Commerce is a compendium of the full range of model poles, with excellent photographs and available documentation. It is a useful reference book for collectors and museum curators . . ."
-Alan Hoover, BC Studies, Summer 2012

"Carvings and Commerce presents almost two hundred examples of model totem poles that index not only an array of carvers' creative and strategic responses to the colonial encounter and the development of curio and 'Indian art' markets but also. . . the changing culture of consumer response and institutional validation."
-Karen Duffek, Museum Anthropology, November 2013

"Carvings and Commerce offers a fascinating and colorful look at these iconic items."
-Indian Country Today Media Network, December 2011