a semi-abstract painting depicts a long-legged, humanoid bird and the interconnected forms of a coyote and human figure

Coyote And Crow Story, 2014

Rick Bartow

Wiyot, Mad River Band, 1946–2016, Acrylic and graphite on canvas, Gift of Loren G. Lipson, M.D., Crocker Art Museum 2019.29 (Photo by Jesse A. Bravo)

Rick Bartow was a musician and artist who lived most of his life in Oregon. Late in his life, he became involved in the World Renewal ceremonies of his ancestral community. The Wiyot tribe live in the Humboldt Bay region of Northwestern California. This semi-abstract painting depicts a long-legged, humanoid bird and the interconnected forms of a coyote and human figure. These forms remind us that American Indian animal stories often include insights about human behavior, told through the exploits of animals, and that these stories sometimes feature dramatic visions of shape-shifting transformation. 

artist bio

Cultural Inspirations

Native artists draw from a variety of sources when creating their work, including designs and imagery from their cultural traditions. These reinterpretations of forms tend to provide a vibrancy and electricity to motifs that are often centuries old. For the viewer, these works feel both old and new, historic yet contemporary. Although many of the designs are embedded with stories and symbolism, they can evoke an Indigenous world view of connection to the earth, life forms, and the Ancestors. 


When I Remember I See Red: American Indian Art and Activism in California was organized by the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA, with support from the United Auburn Indian Community. This presentation at the Autry has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this exhibition do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Land Acknowledgment

The Autry Museum of the American West acknowledges the Gabrielino/Tongva peoples as the traditional land caretakers of Tovaangar (the Los Angeles basin and So. Channel Islands). We recognize that the Autry Museum and its campuses are located on the traditional lands of Gabrielino/Tongva peoples and we pay our respects to the Honuukvetam (Ancestors), ‘Ahiihirom (Elders) and ‘Eyoohiinkem (our relatives/relations) past, present and emerging.

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