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Alison Marks: Decaf/Regular to Open at Anchorage Museum

Jan 8, 2019 | Alaska Native, Media & Arts, News, Tourism


ANCHORAGE—Alaska artist Alison Marks challenges assumptions and expectations about Tlingit art through artwork that tackles cultural appropriation with subversive humor and reimagines traditional Tlingit themes using contemporary materials. Her artworks will be on view at the Anchorage Museum Feb. 1 through April 14 in the exhibition Alison Marks: Decaf/Regular

The pieces in this exhibition span a variety of media, including painting, carving, digital collage and regalia. Marks blends formline – the two-dimensional design style used by the peoples of the Northwest Coast – with nontraditional materials and techniques, including commercial and digital imagery, as a means to engage with a constantly evolving cultural landscape.

Several works in the exhibition play on the influence of social media. Her Emoji series blends formline design with emojis in a commentary on how images of Tlingit self-representation, once an ancient, labor-intensive visual language, have become procurable symbols chosen with the tap of a finger. 

One of Marks’s intentions is to subtly subvert the narratives of a patriarchal Western tradition, which often exoticizes Native identity and women. Through her work she seeks to reflect on the contemporary Tlingit experience and how indigenous identity is shaped by, and expressed through, Western culture.

Several works in the exhibition play on the influence of social media. Her Emoji series blends formline design with emojis in a commentary on how images of Tlingit self-representation, once an ancient, labor-intensive visual language, have become procurable symbols chosen with the tap of a finger. 

One of Marks’s intentions is to subtly subvert the narratives of a patriarchal Western tradition, which often exoticizes Native identity and women. Through her work she seeks to reflect on the contemporary Tlingit experience and how indigenous identity is shaped by, and expressed through, Western culture.

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Pictured: Works by Alison Marks.

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In This Issue

The Marx Bros. Café

January 2020

Jack Amon and Richard “Van” Hale opened the doors of the Marx Bros. Café on October 18, 1979; however, the two had already been partners in cuisine for some time, having created the Wednesday Night Gourmet Wine Tasting Society and Volleyball Team Which Now Meets on Sunday, a weekly evening of food and wine. It was actually the end of the weekly event that spurred the name of the restaurant: hours after its final service, Amon and Hale were hauling equipment and furnishings out of their old location and to their now-iconic building on Third Street, all while managing arguments about equipment ownership, a visit from the police, and quite a bit of wine. “If you’ve ever seen the movie ‘A Night at the Opera” starring the Marx Brothers, that’s what it was like,” Hale explains.

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