Thirty years ago Australian Aboriginal art was little more than a footnote to world art. Today, it is considered to be an important contemporary art movement, often promoted as being connected to a deep cultural past. Becoming Art provides a new analysis of the shifting cultural and social contexts that surround the production of Aboriginal art. Transcending the boundaries between anthropology and art history, the book draws on arguments from both disciplines to provide a unique interdisciplinary perspective that places the artists themselves at the centre of the argument.Western art history has traditionally regarded Aboriginal art as distanced from time and place. Becoming Art uses the recent history of Aboriginal art to challenge some of the presuppositions of western art discourse and western art worlds. It argues for a more cross-cultural perspective on world art history.
Table of Contents
PrefaceIntroductionChapter 1: Cross-Cultural Categories and the Inclusion of Aboriginal Art Section 1: A Short History of Yolngu ArtChapter 2: The History BeginsChapter 3: Bark Painting and the Emergence of Yolngu Fine ArtChapter 4: Dialogue and ChangeSection 2: Engaging with Art HistoryChapter 5: Visuality and Representation in Yolngu ArtChapter 6: Style and Meaning: Abelam Art through Yolngu EyesChapter 7: Art Theory and Art Discourse Across CulturesSection 3: Yolngu Art and the Chimera of Fine ArtChapter 8: Placing Indigenous Art in the GalleryChapter 9: Conclusion
Howard Morphy is Director, Centre for Cross-Cultural Research, The Australian National University.