KEVIN RED STAR, the book




As a young boy growing up on the Crow reservation in Montana, Kevin Red Star cherished the old C.M. Russell prints that his father brought home. They were windows into a world far from Lodge Grass and the strict Catholic schools he attended with his eight brothers and sisters. Red Star studied and copied those prints for hours on end. His evident artistic talent was rewarded with a scholarship to the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. IAIA was an exciting new school that incorporated Native culture into a liberal arts education. It was a radical shift from previous federal policies of exclusion. They studied Picasso, Rausch-enberg and tribal artifacts, oil paints and natural pigments. Early IAIA staff and students emerged as the first Native Americans to masterfully bridge the world to modern art, including Fritz Scholder, Lloyd Kiva New, Alan Houser, Charles Loloma, T.C. Cannon, Dan Namingha and Kevin Red Star. Young Red Star, at eighteen, found himself on the wave of a new adventure that changed his life forever. It was 1962 and the Crow Reservation was behind him but never far from his heart. It would always authenticate his art. Red Star, now 70, paints his people, the Crow, exclusively. Warriors have an aloof fierceness: white-striped faces, shield, breastplates and war bonnets in place, painted horses on alert. Night dancers and mystic men seem to have transported to a spiritual place. Women in flowing buckskin and elk tooth dresses are skillful in dance and on horseback. Tipi poles reach for the night sky. Kevin Red Star: Crow Indian Artist is a monograph of a master painter and visual historian as well as an important cultural resource. Interspersed throughout are the vintage and contemporary images that so vividly inform his work, including photographs by Curtis and Throssel, authentic Crow regalia and artifact, and documentary photography of the Red Star clan today by Kitty Leaken. Author Daniel Gibson, formerly editor of Native Peoples magazine, provides an engaging exploration into the events, people and motivations behind Red Star’s fascinating rise to fame as a world class artist.