The first scholarly monograph on contemporary Native American artist Hock E Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds (Cheyenne-Arapaho, b. 1954), Bill Anthes’s project will provide a serious appraisal of the artist’s career. Resonating with the importance of the number four in Plains Native cultures, the book will be organized in four thematic sections addressing the importance of land, language, history, and future generations in Heap of Birds’s diverse art practice and cultural politics. Moreover, Anthes frames Heap of Birds’s work not only in relation to Native American art, culture, and history but also in comparison with such contemporary artists as Barbara Kruger, Jenny Holzer, Krzysztof Wodiczko, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, and David Hammons, as well as collectives Group Material and Gran Fury. Placing Heap of Birds’s career in dialogue with developments in global contemporary art since the 1960s – including abstraction and landscape painting; text-based conceptual art; the development of “new genre” public art works; and contemporary memorials – this book will demonstrate that Heap of Birds has been an influential presence in the art world of the past three decades.
Bill Anthes is an art historian whose interdisciplinary work focuses on contemporary art in terms of cross-cultural exchanges and multimedia practice. His published writings have focused primarily on Native North American art and visual culture in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and on the history and theory of photography. His first book, Native Moderns: American Indian Painting, 1940-1960, was published by Duke University Press in 2006. A forthcoming textbook, Reframing Photography: Theory and Practice, coauthored with Rebekah Modrak, will be published by Routledge Press in 2010. His recent essay, “Contemporary Native Artists and International Biennial Culture,” was published in Visual Anthropology Review in fall 2009. He has received fellowships from the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Research Center, the Center for the Arts in Society at Carnegie Mellon University, and the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. He teaches at Pitzer College in Claremont, California.