There’s nothing like a book full of pictures to fire the imagination for a new year.
When French-born photographer Anouk Masson Krantz traveled from her home on the East Coast to explore the life, land, and people of the American West, she had no idea that some of the cowboys and ranchers she would meet along the way would include famous folks like Tuf Cooper and Red Steagall. Her quest was not to glorify well-known ranches or big-name cowboys but to show the hard work of the West and the people who do it. “They’re the ones who take care of the cattle day after day — without taking a break — and provide the food on America’s tables,” says Krantz, whose experiences and encounters are chronicled in this handsome volume of 137 striking black-and-white images.
"Cowboys work very hard, but more often than not, they’re forgotten and their story isn’t known."
Her new book goes a long way to making sure their story is heard and that their values are communicated. “Over the years, it has become more and more evident across America — particularly in the big cities — that there are fewer and fewer shared values that tie us together as a community. On the ranch, everything is us — there is no me. It’s wonderful and it’s the message that I wanted to craft in my book: Get back to community, to helping each other. We need to be reminded of that.” Spend time contemplating the wide-open spaces, earnest people, and tough tasks Krantz has captured and you’ll be reminded of exactly that.
Enter for a chance to win a copy of West: The American Cowboy
Hardcover: 264 pages
Publisher: Images Publishing (October 31, 2019)
List price: $75.00
If you don’t win a copy, you can buy the book on Amazon.
Plus, other art books suitable for gifting…
Cabin Style, by Chase Reynolds Ewald (author) and Audrey Hall (photographer) (Gibbs Smith). The Danes have hygge, the Swedes have lagom, and we’ve got the Americana country-cabin vibe. The homegrown cozy aesthetic gets an inspiring visual treatment here in 200-plus pages featuring locations from Napa to Nashville and spaces as diverse as a bison ranch, a fishing camp, a lakeside retreat, and a wine-country barn. All you’ll need is a place to cuddle up with this nice oversize book, your favorite mug full of your favorite warm beverage, and you’ll be off to Happyland.
Hide, Wood, and Willow: Cradles of the Great Plains Indians, from the Civilization of the American Indian Series, by Deanna Tidwell Broughton (University of Oklahoma Press). The first full-length reference book describing baby carriers of the Lakota, Cheyenne, Arapaho, and many other Great Plains cultures, this lovingly and lavishly illustrated volume combines the passion and knowledge of the author — a retired teacher, principal, and enrolled member of the Oklahoma Cherokee Nation — with detailed full-color images. Filled with information about each tribe’s background, preferred types of cradles, birth customs, and methods for distinguishing the sex of the baby through ornamentation, it showcases some of the finest examples of North American Indian craftsmanship and decorative art in Native American cradleboards.
Return to Calgary: Charles M. Russell and the 1919 Victory Stampede, from the Frederic G. and Ginger K. Renner Research Center Series, by Brian W. Dippie (editor) (Charles M. Russell Museum). In 1919, inspired by Allied celebrations around the world, Calgary hosted the Victory Stampede to commemorate the end of the Great War. Stampede organizer Guy Weadick invited Charles M. Russell, well-known for his depictions of the Old West and the great outdoors, to headline its fine art show. This volume — the companion of a 2019 centennial exhibition of the same name — features the back story of and resulting art from Russell’s participation in the Victory Stampede a century ago.
Warhol and the West, by Heather Ahtone, Faith Brower, Seth Hopkins (University of California Press). Another catalog complement to a landmark exhibition, this in-depth look at a lesser-known aspect of pop icon Andy Warhol’s oeuvre considers his Cowboys and Indians series. Featuring bold depictions of heroes of the West — including towering figures such as John Wayne, Annie Oakley, Geronimo, and Theodore Roosevelt, as well as symbolic objects like an Indian Head nickel, a Northwest Coast mask, and kachina dolls — it’s an excellent companion to the traveling exhibition or a terrific stand-in if you can’t make the show. In case you can make the show, it runs through December 31, 2019, at the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville, Georgia, before heading to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City from January 31, 2020 to May 10, 2020, and the Tacoma Art Museum in Washington beginning July 1, 2020.
Hardship, Greed, and Sorrow: An Officer’s Photo Album of 1866 New Mexico Territory, by Devorah Romanek (University of Oklahoma Press). It can be hauntingly surreal to immerse yourself in photographs from another era — all the more so when the period is one of the earliest in the history of photography and one of the most turbulent in the history of the country. This compelling compilation of photographs is being published 150 years after they were put together as a souvenir album by an unknown military officer stationed in New Mexico Territory in the aftermath of the Civil War. In her introduction, Devorah Romanek — an anthropologist, art historian, and curator of exhibits at the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico — puts the images in historical context and explains what is known about their mysterious provenance. The 1866 album reflects its era of origin, including the 1864 Long Walk to Bosque Redondo, which saw the government forcibly deporting the Navajo from Arizona and interring them in New Mexico. Reproducing the souvenir album in its entirety, the book contains what may be the earliest existing photographs of Navajo Indians, along with both studio and field images of U.S. Army officers, Mexican politicians, and various sites throughout New Mexico.
Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists, by Jill Ahlberg Yohe (editor) and Teri Greeves (editor) (University of Washington Press). The touring exhibition Hearts of Our People, which kicked off at the Minneapolis Institute of Art in June 2019, featured more than 115 works, ranging from contemporary photography to ancient ceramics. Billed as the first major exhibition to acknowledge artwork by Native women, it was a long-overdue corrective to the tendency to showcase Indigenous mainly created by men. With 400 color images, the companion catalog offers abundant evidence that fine art made by American Indian women more than stacks up. And it persuasively proves editor Jill Ahlberg Yohe’s point that “Women are the creators; the culture-bearers.” Page through it and/or go to it: Hearts of Our People is on view at the Frist Museum in Nashville through January 12, 2020; the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., February 21, 2020 to May 17, 2020; and the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, Oklahoma, June 28, 2020 to September 20, 2020.
The New Architecture of Wine, by Heather Herbert (Gibbs Smith). Grab a glass of vino and start paging and dreaming. This is California wine country after all, and the 25 wineries featured here — all built within the last decade — make the most of their Golden State setting. Designed by top architects, including Juancarlos Fernandez and Howard Backen, these spaces take their cue from the vinters’ twin passions for the land and the fruit of the vine, and for enjoying both to the fullest.
The New Americana: Interior Décor With an Artful Blend of Old and New, by Holly Kuhn (Gibbs Smith). If you frequent the Denver and Round Top, Texas, décor scenes, you’ve probably run into Holly Kuhn. Founder of Old Glory Style in Denver and Old Glory Texas in Round Top, the style-maker and home-furnishings and antiques purveyor is out with a book about her favorite thing: making a house a welcoming home. Combining patina finishes, leather, classic home furnishings, and personal collections, Kuhn’s signature style is personal and comfortable, inviting and accessible. And so are the book and the many inspiring idea-filled photos (by Ryann Ford) that make it a page-returner.