Out Of Many: Religious Pluralism in America
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Arts & Crafts vs. Art

Jose C., <em>Untitled</em> (2013).

Jose C., Untitled.

Although the Denver Art Museum, the Heard and other museums do show, for instance, indigenous art among their exhibitions, these artifacts are often shown only in ethnographic institutions as examples of the culture, rather than of an artist’s work. (Brockman, 2005) Moreover, these designs represent historical items, not necessarily the most recent examples of, for example, blanket weaving; modern weavings may instead be categorized as craft and as craft with a particular traditional design (that may be easier to sell).

Consider the following examples of the Ecuadorian artist, Jose C, and his work. In the first photo of his shop and the various weavings that he has produced for sale, the predominant style is what we might call traditional indigenous weaving. In the second and third photos, however, there is a weaving from the same artist, which, in conversation with the author, he claims more closely resembles his own trajectory as an artist.

Studio of Jose C.

Jose C. Studio.

Questions to Consider

  • Is this art or is this craft? Who determines this?
  • How much does the art market contribute to this distinction? Who decides value and who decides worth?

Works Cited and Consulted

Joshua Brockman, "A New Dawn for Museums of Native American Art," New York Times. August 20, 2005.