Uprising! Woody Crumbo's Indian Art
by Robert Perry
Chickasaw Press

"Many people could talk from some aspect or another of the light that he (Crumbo) had shown on them. It was apparent that the light from Crumbo's "being" added something to their lives. I was like a giant sponge that soaked up all the comments about him."

Uprising! Woody Crumbo's Indian Art, by accomplished Indian story teller, Robert Perry, is a passionate and comprehensive biography of Woody Crumbo—internationally acclaimed Potawatomi artist, musician, dancer, flutist, silversmith, and poet. He was a jewel-many-faceted that was touched by the sun to shine brightly everywhere, Perry writes in his Acknowledgement page, and that light shines on throughout Perry's visually rich and passionate biography of Woody Crumbo.

Best known for his oil paintings, silk screenings, and revolutionary art works that helped to bring Indian art to the attention of mainstream America—and into museums—Woody Crumbo's life (1912-1989) parallels the evolution of 20th Century American Indian Art. And Perry's Uprising! expansively tracks Crumbo's life story as an artist from his studies at Chilocco Indian School, to his studies at Wichita University and the University of Oklahoma, through his years as an Indian dancer, and his subsequent art director positions at Bacone College in Muskogee, Oklahoma and later at the El Paso Museum of Art.

After conducting numerous interviews with the people who had been touched by Crumbo's artistic light and spirit and referencing a suitcase full of newspaper clippings provided by Lillian Crumbo—Woody Crumbo's widow—Perry has fervently compiled an inspiring biography that is filled with stunning color and black and white photos of the works of an Indian artist who is known for often going against the grain, while succeeding in helping to move Indian art into museums of, and markets for, fine art around the world.

In reference to Perry's documentation of some of Woody Crumbo's against the grain persona, Perry shares this anecdote... When modern abstract art hit Taos, it became what the elite wanted... Woody considered this the lowest point on the arc of American art. To illustrate his point, he cut pieces of canvas, tacked them on a shed wall, and loaded shotgun shells with different colors of paint. Then he aimed the shotgun at the canvas and blew it full of color. Woody showed these "works of art" to his friends. Although never intended to be sold, he laughed about developing a new modern art form known as "Shotgun Paintings."

The art of any particular era in history has always been unique all to itself, and 20th Century American Indian Art—and the work of Woody Crumbo in particular—is no different. On a larger scale, all Native American art will rise as does the tide.

Uprising! Woody Crumbo's Indian Art is a notable addition to art libraries and Native American Art collectors, patrons, and enthusiasts. Robert Perry, an accomplished Indian storyteller, sits on the Council of Elders of the Chickasaw Nation. He is author of The Turkey Feather Cape: My Creation from Beyond History and Life with the Little People, winner of The Native Writers Circle of the Americas First Book Award for Prose.

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