Richard Glazer-Danay

Artist who grew up in Coney Island and whose artwork celebrates his Mohawk iron worker ancestry

Born in 1942 and raised in Coney Island, Native American artist Richard Glazer-Danay is of Kahnawake (Caughnawaga) Mohawk and Jewish descent. His family first came to Coney Island with circuses and Wild West shows in the late 1800's and early 1900's when his great grandfather Joseph Danay was a traveling medicine man who sold elixirs and his great uncle Peter White Cloud was a trick rider and roper.  Glazer-Danay's grandfather moved here permanently in the 1920s.

He was the first member of his family to be born in Coney Island.  His extended family lived on West 16th Street and split their time between the reservation in Quebec and New York, where his father, uncles and cousins, as well as himself as a young man, were employed as iron workers.  In the late 1940's, his family moved to Canal Avenue, an area where he remembers playing in the summer bungalows. He also lived at 2995 West 29th Street and recalls Coney Island as "a wonderful place to grow up."

There were many hard hats around Glazer-Danay's house and he became known for using these symbols of Mohawk iron workers as inspiration for his art works.  He has an M.F.A. in Fine Arts from California State University, Davis, and has exhibited widely in the United States and in Europe. His art is in the permanent collections of the British Museum, Heard Museum, Peabody Essex Museum, San Diego Museum of Art, Seneca Iroquois National Museum, and Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian among others.