Minnesota Historical Society

Turning the Feather Around

$ 24.95


My Life in Art

Author George Morrison

Minnesota Historical Society Press (May 15, 1998)

In this fascinating self-portrait, George Morrison, who calls himself "an artist who happens to be an Indian," tells a personal story of a life of changing horizons and artistic achievement.


"For fifty years George Morrison has had an active part in the world of contemporary art, and he is widely recognized as one of the most important Native American painters of his generation. In Turning the Feather Around: My Life in Art, Morrison tells about his life’s journey, which began in a small Ojibway community on Minnesota’s North Shore and took him to Europe and New York City during one of the most exciting periods of twentieth-century art. Morrison’s return to Minnesota and his Native American roots is a powerful human story of creativity and spirituality in the life of a powerful artist."
Evan M. Maurer, Director and CEO, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Growing up in a large family ("we didn’t know we were poor"), he bartered pictures with town kids and carved trinkets to sell to tourists. Encouraged by good high school teachers at Grand Marais, he attended art school in Minneapolis, then moved to New York City. At the Art Students League, George went about becoming an artist in earnest, absorbing the excitement of the new American style, Abstract Expressionism; showing his work in Greenwich Village lofts; and spending summers working and painting in Provincetown, R.I. Marriage and a teaching job at the Rhode Island School of Design seemed to fix his career firmly in the East. But in 1970, his direction turned toward home, and George began to search out his Ojibway heritage. His luminous small horizon paintings reflect his return to the "big water." Turning the Feather Around, the title taken from a name given to George in a healing ceremony, is a work of intimate personal disclosure that captures the pulse of the speaking voice and the vision of the artist’s eye.

"When I saw George in the summer of 1994, after a lapse of several years, I sensed that he was ready to tell his story. We began the audio taping, sitting on a small sofa at Red Rock, George’s studio home overlooking Lake Superior, and drinking coffee brewed strong and aromatic, the way he likes it. Though we tried to start at the beginning, the art on the walls and his current life led us to digress.

This book does not pretend to be the last word on George Morrison’s life and art. But it is his word. Only George can paint his own picture, offer us humor and humility in the face of the vast lake, and place bits of driftwood just right to reveal the winding current of his life."
Margot Fortunato Galt

Author information

George Morrison, As told to Margot Fortunato Galt

George Morrison has created paintings and sculptures that are in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Walker Art Center, the Joslyn Art Museum, the Heard Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

  • 211 pages
  • 8.25 x 9.25 inches
  • ISBN: 9780873513609

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