Thursday, June 30, 2016

Book Review: Artists of Sedona

I was introduced to the spectacular beauty of Sedona, Arizona by my wife about a decade ago. Over the years we've visited that spectacular area many times, and I've often written about it, focusing on its artists and many galleries.

Artists of Sedona(1930-1999), published in 2014 by Gene K. Garrison, is a warmly crafted homage to the many artists who helped to give that Red Rocks city a reputation in the fine arts.

The book is essentially a history book of the seeding, fertilization, and growth of the Sedona artistic community.
 It starts with two brothers, a gibbon, and a baby coyote roaring into the valley on a Harley motorcycle.

 It also pays homage to Egyptian immigrant Nassan Gobran, who can be said to be the father of the Sedona fine arts footprint, as he was the leading voice for the energy which re-focused Sedona as a fine arts town.

 We learn how an apple-packing barn became the Sedona Arts Center, and eventually the magnet for all of the city's art galleries. The first exhibition in that building (April 1961) was by none other than the respected and very famous impressionist Max Ernst and his wife Dorothy Tanning.

We also learn about the formation of the Cowboy Artists of America, and through Garrison's superbly delivered talkative style of writing, we are further educated into the lives, anecdotes, stories, achievements, failures of a variety of the key artists who flowed into the Red Rocks area, attracted not by New Age vortexes, but by the spectacular beauty of the area, and by the growing magnetism of a growing artistic community.

You can feel Garrison's love for the artists, for Sedona, and for its history, in each word lovingly delivered in this book. It is a perfect example of how an art history book can be crafted so that it not only cements the art history of a city, but also honors the artists who created it.