Read our August 2017 Newsletter
August 26, 2017
Click here to read our August 2017 Newsletter, featuring a classic Jessie Oonark print and discussing our relaunched website.
August 21, 2016
The gallery is no longer open for business at 1065 Madison Avenue.
We will be there irregularly from now until the end of September, but the bulk of our inventory has been packed and shipped.
We are in the process of rethinking our website. For the time being, we have left our curated exhibitions on display on the website, but most of these works are no longer available for purchase.
When the website is relaunched, we will send out a newsletter. If you are not on our newsletter list and wish to be, please click on "Contact" and fill in the "Newsletter signup" form.
We are still happy to talk with you, consult on Inuit art, provide insurance appraisals, and answer questions.Read More >>
August 14, 2016
We bought Alaska on Madison almost five years ago, and we have reluctantly concluded that it is not economically viable. Wednesday, August 17 is the last day that we will be taking orders. Most of our inventory will be leaving the gallery shortly after that.
We thank our loyal customers for their support. We have enjoyed meeting and talking with you, and we hope that your love for indigenous Northern art continues to flourish.
A number of you have asked where you will be able to look for high quality Inuit and Northwest Coast art after our gallery closes. We will maintain our website, www.alaskaonmadison.com, although there will be a period when it is down for re-thinking and refurbishment. We will send out an announcement when it has been reincarnated.
Just to state the obvious, however, galleries can only keep their doors open if collectors patronize them. If everyone on our email list had purchased just one sculpture every other year, we would not be closing. So please remember that every purchase you make from a gallery is important to keeping galleries available as a resource for collectors.
Our very best wishes to you all.
Ann and Michael Lesk
April 8, 2016
October 31, 2015
On October 17, 2015, Alaska on Madison hosted Samaiyu Akesuk and Papiara Tukiki, two of the artists whose work is featured in the 2015 Cape Dorset Print Collection.
Saimaiyu Akesuk was born on April 28, 1988 in Iqaluit but she has lived in Cape Dorset for almost her whole life. Her parents are Lau Akesuk and Olayuk Akesuk, who was one of the first Members of the Legislative Assembly in Nunavut. Samaiyu's grandfather, Latcheolassie Akesuk, was a distinguished early Cape Dorset sculptor. Saimaiyu was inspired to start drawing by Ningeokuluk Teevee while they were taking a class together at the Nunavut Teaching Education Program. Saimaiyu's confident drawings of birds and bears are characterized by her bold and dynamic simplicity rendered with soft tenderness and quite often a touch of whimsy.
Papiara Tukiki has been a delightful mainstay of the annual collection since her first prints were introduced in 2004. Papiara's simple forms capture the essence of her subject. In 1977 she received an Award of Excellence for her original design in the "Things That Make us Beautiful" competition organized by the Department of Indian and Northern Development. Born on Christmas Day, 1942, Papiara is married to Qopie Tukiki, a long-time employee of the community's Housing Association. They live in Cape Dorset.
October 28, 2015
On October 29 and 30, from 10 am - 6 pm each day (opening preview reception October 29, 6-8 pm), Alaska on Madison is hosting a preview for Walker's Auctions November 15 live auction. In addition, Alaska on Madison is hosting a preview of ivory and whalebone works to be included in that auction. The ivory and whalebone works will be on view during the gallery's regular hours from now until the auction (November 18).
About one-third of the works in the auction come from the renowned Albrecht Collection of Arctic Art, featured in the Arctic Spirit exhibit at the Heard Museum.
Read More >>
August 1, 2015
Our August 2015 Newsletter introduces you to Whalebone Wonders, an exhibition opening September 17. This exhibit showcases three masterworks in whalebone - Revenge by Manasie Akpaliapik, Shaman Playing String Game by Nick Sikkuark, and Shaman Hunter by Augustin Anaittuq - and surrounds them with a number of smaller examples of Inuit artists' ingenious use of whalebone.
February 7, 2015
Click here to read our February 2015 Newsletter, which features a discussion of the prints in Thirty from the Sixties: The First Decade of Inuit Printmaking and the printing techniques used.Read More >>
December 30, 2014
Click here to read our January 2015 Newsletter, featuring the opening reception for Thirty from the Sixties: The First Decade of Inuit Printmaking and a farewell to Kiugak (Kiawak) Ashoona.Read More >>
July 2, 2014
Visit us in Santa Fe August 19-20 at the Antique American Indian Art Show. The show will feature thirty galleries that concentrate on exceptional pre-1950s Native American art. It will be held in El Museo in the vibrant Railyard district of Santa Fe.
The opening gala is Tuesday, August 19 from 6-9 pm.
The show days are Wednesday, August 20 and Thursday, August 21 from 11 am-6 pm.Read More >>
March 21, 2014
Itee Pootoogook, one of Cape Dorset's most promising graphic artists, died this week at age 63. He pioneered drawings using colored pencil on black paper, creating subltle luminous effects. His work is featured in the gallery's current exhibition Views from the North: Original Drawings from Cape Dorset. Click here to read his obituary from Nunatsiaq News.
January 11, 2014
We have a selection of books that will enhance your appreciation of your collection. They include cornerstones like George Swinton's seminal "Sculpture of the Inuit," Leslie Boyd Ryan's comprehensive "Cape Dorset Prints: A Retrospective," Aldona Jonaitis' excellent survey "Art of the Northwest Coast," and Alan Wardwell's definitive "Ancient Eskimo Ivories of the Bering Strait." They also include a number of published collections and more specialized books. Click here for a list.Read More >>
November 29, 2013
Our December Newsletter introduces our upcoming exhibit, Views from the North: Cape Dorset Drawings, and provides a link to a selection of works priced at $1000 or less. Views from the North will open with a preview reception on January 9, 2014 from 6-8:30 pm, and will be on view until February 28, 2014.
November 14, 2013
Read our November newsletter at www.lesk.com/gallery/news-nov2013.html
It features an extraordinary igloo scene by master carver Axangayu Shaa, and previews our upcoming exhibit of original drawings from Cape Dorset. Views from the North: Drawings from Cape Dorset will present original one-of-a-kind drawings by established and emerging artists in the gallery January-February 2014.
October 6, 2013
This month marks the release of the 2013 Cape Dorset Annual Print Collection. Cape Dorset is a community of about 1200 Inuit (Canadian Eskimo) that describes itself as the “Capital of Inuit Art.” Every year since 1959, Cape Dorset has released a set of limited edition prints created by artists from the community. Click here for purchase information.
Cape Dorset prints originated through serendipity. For more background and for information about the artists represented in this year's collection, read our blog . . .
September 6, 2013
Cape Dorset 2013 Print Collection
September 5, 2013
Read More >>
August 14, 2013
Follow four men traversing the Northwest Passage in a rowboat from Inuvik, Northwest Territories to Pond Inlet, Nunavut (see map) to demonstrate the effects of global warming in the Arctic. Their bulletins highlight the difficulty of survival in the Arctic, even with high-tech support. http://www.vancouversun.com/lastfirst/index.htmlRead More >>
August 3, 2013
Kenojuak: Eskimo Artist is a 20-minute film by the National Film Board of Canada that documents the creation of The Arrival of the Sun, one of Kenojuak Ashevak's seminal stonecut prints from 1961. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for documentary short subject.
Kenojuak, who died earlier this year, was the first woman to be associated with the Cape Dorset print shop, and became one of the foremost Canadian graphic artists. Her prints were included in every Cape Dorset print collection from 1959 (the first) through 2012 (the most recent). She was internationally recognized, and received numerous honors.
The earliest graphics from Cape Dorset were either stonecut prints or stencils. This film shows the process of creating Arrival of the Sun, starting with Kenojuak's sketch, which was then transferred to a stone block, which was then cut (by another artist, Lukta Qiatsuq) to remove the superfluous stone, and inked. Fifty impressions were then made (in addition to a small number of artist's proofs).
The film also shows how Kenojuak's art was an integral part of her life.
Click here to watch the film.Read More >>
July 11, 2013
Our July newsletter introduces an Inuit Art Online Exhibition entitled Yuungnaqpiallerput: The Way We Genuinely Live Inuit sculptures present a rich view of daily life in the North. No activity is too mundane to be captured in a carving, and even a small group of these "slice of life" sculptures vividly depicts the highs and lows of Arctic life. Artists from the Arctic Quebec communities favored "slice of life" subjects more than artists from other regions, but you can find examples from a wide range of communities. We are pleased to present an online exhibition of 50 "slice of life" carvings, which range from early works by master artists to contemporary works by emerging artists. Click on the link below to read the full newsletter. http://www.lesk.com/gallery/11jul13news.html
July 11, 2013
We have Cape Dorset 2014 Calendars, which feature twelve prints by Kenojuak Ashevak (1927-2013), whose work was included in -- and became a mainstay of -- every annual print collection from Cape Dorset from 1959 through 2012. The prints in this calendar range from 1960's Hare Spirits to 2012's Red Fox.
March 17, 2013
To read a discussion of international security issues arising from global warming, see http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/13/opinion/preventing-an-arctic-cold-war.html?_r=0 .
March 17, 2013
Kenojuak Ashevak, diminutive in person but a giant in the art world, died in January. She was represented in the Cape Dorset print collections from the first, in 1959, through the last released during her lifetime, in 2012. She continued to experiment with new media and techniques right up to the end, sharing her limitless imagination with the world. Her obituary in the New York Times can be found at http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C07E6DE1639F937A25752C0A9659D8B63 .
February 1, 2013 - Ann Lesk
Baffled by those “anonymous” sculptures with lots of markings on the bottom? We can help you can give them names.
How many times have you been frustrated by seeing an Inuit sculpture described as “anonymous” or “unknown artist,” accompanied by the notation “signed in syllabics”? You don’t have to understand Inuktitut in order to learn how to attribute many of your anonymous pieces. As with any language skill, it takes some practice, but the time is well spent if you are a serious collector of Inuit art. To help you, we have posted a search facility for Inuit art “signatures” on our website.
Click here for an explanation of Inuktitut syllabics and a link to the INUIT ARTIST SEARCH TOOL.