Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse, PhD is the curator of Northwest Native art and director of the Bill Holm Center for the Study of Northwest Native Art at the Burke Museum, and assistant professor of art history at the University of Washington.
Her most recent book is Unsettling Native Art Histories on the Northwest Coast, co-edited with Aldona Jonaitis (University of Washington Press, 2020). This volume unsettles the colonial relations of art history by foregrounding Indigenous understandings of Native art practice. Since Native art has historically been viewed within an aesthetic framework derived from Western art history, this volume integrates the expertise of Indigenous knowledge holders in the evaluation of their own artistic heritage.
Bunn-Marcuse's publications focus on the indigenization of Euro-American imagery, nineteenth-century Northwest Coast jewelry and other body adornment, and the filmic history of the Kwakwaka’wakw. In 2014, she curated Here & Now: Native Artists Inspired, which showcased new Northwest Coast artworks that were inspired by historical pieces in the Burke Museum’s collection. In her role as curator, she collaborates with Indigenous artists to activate the Museum's collections in response to cultural revitalization efforts. In 2019, Bunn-Marcuse worked with six Indigenous artists from the Northwest to curate the Northwest Native Art Gallery in the new Burke Museum.
Her current research focuses on films made in the Kwagu'ł village of Tsaxis by Franz Boas in 1930. She is leading a collaborative project to reunite existing archival media—historical films, wax-cylinder audio recordings, images of material collections, and unpublished manuscripts and fieldnotes—from far-flung institutions and merge them into a new digital whole, shaped by and integrated with active cultural knowledge contributed by Kwagu'ł contributors.
Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse began her tenure-track appointment in the School during autumn quarter 2016. Read a Burke Museum blog post with additional information about Bunn-Marcuse's appointment.
Bunn-Marcuse has taught courses at the University of Washington for the Division of Art History and in the Department of American Indian Studies. She became Managing Editor for Bill Holm Center publications in 2008 and added the title of Assistant Director of the Bill Holm Center in 2010; she was promoted to Associate Director in 2015. Bunn-Marcuse became Director of the Bill Holm Center and Curator of Northwest Native American Art at the Burke Museum in 2016.