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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Have There Been Any Great Artists from Alaska?

posted by on September 25 at 15:29 PM

I was about to say no, there’s no Alaskan whose artistic contribution to the world could offset the freak show that is Sarah Palin (the woman makes Katie Couric look like Sam Spade!).

Who’re the candidates?

The guy who did this? (Eustace Ziegler)

This self-proclaimed “most popular” artist of Alaska? (Rie Muñoz)

No, they do not do it. But then I remembered walking up Jackson Street the other night and doing a double-take at a slab of something pink and glowing in a storefront window. It was Stonington Gallery, specializing in native art and especially the glorious Haida and Tlingit traditions. The traditions aren’t exactly associated in my mind with the statehood of Alaska, so I was going to disqualify them on that count. But I suppose Alaska-the-land (if not Alaska-the-state) at least deserves credit for helping to inspire and sustain those artists.

And anyway, contemporary Eskimo carvers can be pretty freaking amazing. Check out this narwhal on a killer-whale tooth base by Paul Rookook:


The guy who made that seems like a badass. Like maybe he even has some foreign-policy experience. Paul Rookook for VP?

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Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | September 25, 2008 3:40 PM

There are art galleries in Alaska, you know. Lots of them. And, actually, an incredibly vibrant artistic community.

Not everybody in Alaska is a ludicrous moron.

Posted by TValley | September 25, 2008 3:42 PM

It would be remiss to overlook the work of Fred Machetanz. I believe the Frye was a great supporter of his work at one time.

Posted by crazycatguy | September 25, 2008 3:52 PM

Are you including Native American art?

Posted by Trevor | September 25, 2008 4:06 PM

Isn't Dan Webb from Alaska?

Posted by Jim Demetre | September 25, 2008 4:11 PM

Jim: Apparently not:

Mary Simpson is, however, from Alaska, and is getting to be a pretty great artist. But I'm talking game-changing, huge, you know—

Posted by Jen Graves | September 25, 2008 4:17 PM

I'm a pretty big fan of Nicholas Galanin:

Theodore Lambert and Sydney Laurence knocked out a great painting or two every so often as well.

Posted by bronkitis | September 25, 2008 4:18 PM

There are lots-but you Seattlens immediately think every artist from AK is either totem poles or Rie Munoz.

It is depresssing being a pinter in AK. Ignored by the locals as too strange and the nearest real city thinks you must paint "moose & spruce."


Posted by AK Rob | September 25, 2008 4:22 PM

Sheila Wyne is one of my favs, others include Sonya Kelliher-Combs, Jane Terzis, Harvey Pootoogooluk, David Woodie, and Ken DeRoux. Dan DeRoux is very well known and liked.

David Mollett and Bill Brody are very well known nationally. Bill Ray is known internationally. Melvin Olanna was a big name. Rockwell Kent did much of his high quality work based upon his time in AK.

Posted by AK Rob | September 25, 2008 4:37 PM

There are loads of interesting Alaska artists. Duh. I have to admit, however, that on seeing the third image I immediately thought, "damn, a polar bear with a huge double-headed dildo up its ass. What's THAT about?"

Should my therapist hear about this?

Posted by avatar | September 25, 2008 6:26 PM

Yes... Machetanz is right up there at the top!!!!

Posted by M | September 25, 2008 7:31 PM

Ray Troll is pretty awesome if you like fish.

Posted by elizaperson | September 25, 2008 8:21 PM

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