The Rock Art of Arizona: Art for Life’s Sake


1. Editorial comments

A comprehensive book on the rock art of Arizona was missing. Ekkehart Malotki has now provided it and he has done it beautifully. Thanks to his superb photographs, readers will be amazed at the wealth and splendor of what is undoubtedly one of the most impressive collections of rock paintings and engravings in the world, set in incredible landscapes that played a vital part in their significance. The author also stresses the various functions and meanings of the art insofar as we can comprehend them. As he did so simply and clearly, general readers, rock art enthusiasts and specialists will all be deeply interested in this landmark publication. — Jean Clottes, president of IFRAO (International Federation of Rock Art Organizations) and author of World Rock Art.

This is more than a collection of amazing, beautiful, and sensitively-photographed images--most never seen before. As if that were not enough, Malotki also gives us a wide-ranging, well-researched analysis and interpretation of those Arizona images, setting them into the worldwide corpus and discourse of rock art. Whatever one’s level of interest and knowledge of the subject, this book will be a revelation of the marvel—and deep importance—of human artmaking. — Ellen Dissanayake, author of Homo Aestheticus: Where Art Comes From and Why.

A journey through this volume is an experience that will transport the reader to places unknown, compliments of Malotki’s extraordinary photography, elegant prose, and original insights that only someone with his field acumen could produce. This intelligent, well-crafted synopsis fills a void in the rock art literature of the Southwest. It is destined to become a classic. — Henry Wallace, Senior Research Archaeologist, Center for Desert Archaeology.


2. Readers' comments and Reviews

Few would dispute that Arizona has one of the finest regional rock art bodies in the United States, and one that is worthy of the attention of that most devoted of artists among rock art photographers, Ekkehart Malotki. Many of his colour images -- and there are 381 in this book -- are masterworks, and the beholder can but marvel at his dedication and patience. ...
[Malotki] ... has mastered the art of photographing rock art like no-one else, with the possible exception of the great Jean Vertut, and he has developed his own, quite specific style of rock art recording. ... The result is a visual feast in the form of a book that is itself a work of art. Such a lovingly crafted volume can contribute considerably to the appreciation of rock art, to the public's perception of it, and thus indirectly to its preservation. It is therefore more than a coffee-table book; it is a value statement about that which seems so robust and yet is so fragile. ... Malotki does not need words to convey his extraordinary love for the rock art of Arizona, he speaks to the reader through his images more than any words can convey. A journey through this book enthrals with the way a crisp desert morning is captured, the elegantly understated grandeur of the landscape, the "meanings" strands of clouds become imbued with in the hands of this master photographer. Malotki has produced yet another rock art masterpiece.  Robert Bednarik, Rock Art Research 2008, vol. 25(1), p. 126 (excerpts).


"Stunning, absolutely stunning. I was quite happy to see many images I have photographed myself, and of course was amazed at the breadth of this collection. An absolute cornucopia of the art I so enjoy." Richard Henderson, AZ

THE ROCK ART OF ARIZONA is an absolutely beautiful book, something you want to hold and investigate joyfully and unhurriedly. Gorgeous photography and superb graphic design invite frequent re-visiting and lingering delight. But it is much more than a visual treat. It tells a story. Ekkehart Malotki is either an artist who thinks like a scientist, or a scientist who feels like an artist. Just as in two of his previous books, TAPAMVENI and STONE CHISEL AND YUCCA BRUSH, the writing is concise, informative, and helpful for those who want to appreciate the artists and cultures that made these beautiful, ancient images.
I live in both Virginia and Colorado, and drive back and forth two or three times each year with dog and various family members. Malotki's books always come along, both ways. They are big books, but they still make the trips back and forth between the East Coast and Colorado to remain within easy reach in each house. In the past three years I have bought many dozens of books on rock art and archaeology. These beautiful books by Ekkehart Malotki are the very best I have. I tell everyone I know that if they are going to buy just one book on rock art in the American Southwest: get one of Ekkehart Malotki's. If you are going to Arizona, this is THE choice. Better than five stars! Lawrence L. Wiseman (Williamsburg, VA and Fort Collins, CO).


Ekkehart Malotki's "The Rock Art of Arizona: Art for Life's Sake" may be the best volume on southwestern U.S. rock art since archaeologist Polly Schaafsma's "Indian Rock Art of the Southwest" published in 1980. Malotki classifies Arizona's thousands of petroglyphs (designs carved or pecked into rock) and pictographs (rock paintings) into approximate age groups as well as into distinctive subregional stylistic groupings attributable to the various ancient peoples who have inhabited the Southwest through the ages. He examines the rock art from a fresh perspective of evolutionary psychology as applied to the arts and the concept of human universals. Arguing that Arizona's petroglyphs and pictographs are expressions of art and ritual that have been essential to cultural group survival since the beginning of the human experience, he makes a convincing case that much of the state's rock art is fundamentally "art for life's sake." Allen Dart, RPA, Executive Director Old Pueblo Archaeology Center, Tucson AZ


This book is a comprehensive and beautifully designed overview of the wealth and diversity of Arizona's precious rock art heritage. A visual treat, it is profusely illustrated with spectacular photos and drawings, and accompanied by informative, compact prose that combines for a fascinating
journey into Arizona's prehistory. Five stars! Chris Gralapp, CA


In "The Rock Art of Arizona," as in his previous books, Malotki's artful photography is a veritable feast. His artistry with a camera heightens the impact of Arizona's astounding array of rock imagery. The book is "eye candy" from beginning to end. Katherine Wells, NM


"It looks to be a pretty stunning production from any angle...The book is beautiful in itself, the photos amazing, the text compelling." Harold Fromm, English Department, University of Arizona/co-editor of THE ECOCRITICISM READER: LANDMARKS IN LITERARY ECOLOGY.


"Dang, you do good work. The book is incredible." Bob Forsyth, NV


"The book looks great, just as expected. ... I find it extremely interesting, easy to read, and thought-provoking." Morey Stinson, CO


"The book is fantastic! The photographs make me want to jump in the pages and see some of the sites up close and in person. ... Even more than that, I'm devouring your writing. ... Very interesting and intriguing." Bruce Colbert, AZ


Ekkehart Malotki does not disappoint in his latest publication "The Rock Art of Arizona". His photography is phenomenal. The reader will travel through Arizona, viewing spectacular rock art found in each county ranging from the post-Pleistocene era to the beginning of the 20th century. Great photos along with researched information makes this a valuable addition to anyone with a rock art library. Barbara Gronemann, AZ


"Your book...what a delight! Very beautiful and a treasure for me to have." Lila Elam, AZ


Arizona is home to one of the largest and most diversity collections of rock paintings and engraving known to archaeology. These artistic expressions and pictographic communications are principally the work of paleo-indians. Author and rock art enthusiast Ekkehart Malotki has compiled more than 384 photographs in "The Rock Art of Arizona: Art For Life's Sake", a 200-page introduction to the functions and meanings of rock art so far as archaeologists can decipher them. Intrinsic works of beauty, often in peril of vandalism, "The Rock Art Of Arizona" is a timely, seminal, and invaluable contribution to the growing library of information on this unique from of human expression. "The Rock Art Of Arizona" is a strongly recommended addition to academic library Native American Studies reference collections, and will prove to be of immense interest to non-specialist general readers with an interest in Native American Art, as well as North American Archaeology. Midwest Book Review

"In addition to stunningly beautiful photography of the petroglyphs themselves, Malotki's new book presents one of the best and most level-headed,
scientifically-based summations of what American petroglyphs may represent that I have read anywhere. Malotki is remarkably well versed not only
in petroglyph studies in the U.S. but worldwide; and he puts the specific rock art works he shows and discusses into the widest context. For anyone
interested in southwestern petroglyphs, and in world rock art, this is a very good read with truly brilliant photography." G. Frank Oatman, Jr. (retired college
professor and serious amateur student of rock art)