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By Sharyn R. Udall

The story of editor/poet/journalist/diarist and printer Walter Willard “Spud” Johnson.


Spud Johnson and Laughing Horse is a portrait of the soul of a generation of artists and writers, the story of the men and women who made New Mexico a center of regional American literature, criticism and visual arts in the 1920s and 30s. Sharyn Udall’s lively account of the quirky editor, poet, journalist, diarist and printer Walter Willard “Spud” Johnson focuses especially on brilliant and diverse artists--D. H. Lawrence, Mary Austin, Mabel Dodge Luhan, Witter Bynner, Georgia O’Keeffe and John Marin among them--whom he befriended and published. Together they helped to create a new voice for the Southwest, fusing high art and low, repudiating the derivative cultural tradition of their predecessors, and bringing the Native American and Hispanic cultural heritage to the attention of the American mainstream.

Sharyn Udall is an Art Historian, author, and independent curator who has written, taught and lectured widely on the art of the American Southwest. She takes a special interest in women in the visual arts, in the transnational arts of the Americas, and in interdisciplinary associations among artists and writers. She has lived in the Southwest for most of her adult life and has taught Art History at the University of New Mexico and the College of Santa Fe.

Dr. Udall’s books include Modernist Painting in New Mexico; Spud Johnson and Laughing Horse; Inside Looking Out: The Life and Art of Gina Knee; Contested Terrain: Myth and Meaning in Southwest Art; O’Keeffe and Texas; and most recently a book and traveling exhibition on three women artists of North America entitled Carr, O’Keeffe, Kahlo: Places of Their Own. Her upcoming book project is American Art and Dance: A Long Embrace, which looks at the many ways visual artists have helped to define and express American culture through images of the dance.

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