This book began when I was a kid helping my dad garden among oak knolls
in northern California. There, churned- up earth revealed the long- standing
presence of Pomo people whose extraordinary baskets I admired in the nearby
Grace Hudson Museum. Equally it started in 2004, when a boulder seated
atop a red car in front of the Sydney Opera House, placed by the artist Jimmie
Durham, raised questions I was not prepared to answer. There was no turning
back after 2006, when I cornered Janet Berlo following her brilliant lecture
in San Diego and said, “I want to study with you. Where is the University of
I am enriched and humbled by the intelligence, creativity, humor, and
hospitality of Jimmie Durham, James Luna, Kay WalkingStick, and Robert
Houle. I additionally thank Durham’s partner, the artist Maria Thereza Alves,
Durham’s assistant Kai Vollmer, Fred Kabotie’s daughter Hattie Kabotie Lo-
mayesva, Kabotie’s grandson, the artist and musician Ed Kabotie, Walking-
Stick’s partner, the artist Dirk Bach, and Houle’s partner and assistant Paul
Gardner, for their support.
A PhD would not have occurred to me without the urging of Teri Sowell,
Elizabeth Newsome, Susan Smith, and Norman Bryson at the University of
California, San Diego. Mina and Ned Smith at the sana Art Foundation
trusted me to help manage and curate their collection of Native American,
African, and Oceanic art. No one has given more to my education and career
than Janet Berlo, whom I am honored to call my mentor, collaborator, and
friend. To the other brilliant members of my dissertation committee, A. Joan
Saab, Rachel Haidu, and Eleana Kim, I owe deep gratitude. Their keen ideas
and tireless letters of support helped me to thrive well beyond the University
of Rochester. Douglas Crimp, Bob Foster, and other faculty in the Gradu-
ate Program in Visual and Cultural Studies were central to my intellectual
development. Ivan Minchev’s love was crucial and sustaining. Liz Goodfel-
low, Sam Le, Lucy Mulroney, Shota Ogawa, Alex Marr, Amanda Graham,
Alicia Guzman, and other friends made a snowy four years in Rochester
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