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June 23, 1985|ANDREW AVALOS

CARL GORMAN'S WORLD by Henry and Georgia Greenberg (University of New Mexico: $45). His son is successful Navajo artist R. C. Gorman but the senior Gorman (1907--) is rightfully the master of contemporary Native-American art, having made the breakthrough in the 1940s with paintings that were far from the accepted flat and decorative Indian art being sold throughout the American southwest. The Greenbergs have written a straightforward, sensitive biography beginning in 1915 with an 8-year-old Carl listening to Enrique Caruso on the family Victrola, drawing in pencil the horses on his father's ranch in northern Arizona. What makes this book so wonderful are the numerous color plates of Gorman's paintings along with the detailed text that covers Gorman's heroic days as one of the "Navajo Code Talkers" of World War II to his most recent role as a lecturer and teacher of Navajo culture. The authors also examine Indian life in Los Angeles from the 1940s through the 1960s. It is here where the federal government relocated thousands of Navajos in a failed attempt to assimilate them. It is here where Gorman raised his family, studied art at Otis Parsons, and founded the Navajo Club--a source of inspiration for many "relocatees" who found strength to return proudly to their Navajo nation.

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