Posts Tagged ‘western art’

An Analysis of the Primitive in Art and Anthropology

In Of Interest, Uncategorized on August 10, 2011 at 2:00 pm

MoMA's Controversial Exhibition

Shelly Errington, Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz and specialist in visual cultural anthropology, reflexively analyzes Western art historians in her essay, “What Became Authentic Primitive Art?” (Cultural Anthropology: 1994). She critiques the notion of Authentic Primitive Art and as a western, ethnocentric ideological construct and problematizes hierarchical arrangement of such non-Western artifacts. She argues against dominating themes of ethnocentrism in Western art by analyzing exhibits of Primitive Art, which she incriminates as the source of non-Western “otherization”. Specifically, she argues against “Art by Appropriation”, stating that “the vast majority of objects found in fine arts museums were not created as ‘art,’ not intended by their makers to be ‘art’,” rather, these artifacts exist independently of the Western Museum proper (Errington: 202). Instead, Errington advocates for cultural relativism in lieu of Western ethnocentrism in the appreciation of non-Western artifacts. Continue…