Re-envisioning the Contemporary Art Canon: Perspectives in a Global World seeks to dissect and interrogate the nature of the present-day art field, which has experienced dramatic shifts in the past 50 years.
In discussions of the canon of art history, the notion of ‘inclusiveness’, both at the level of rhetoric and as a desired practice is on the rise and gradually replacing talk of ‘exclusion’, which dominated critiques of the canon up until two decades ago. The art field has dramatically, if insufficiently, changed in the half-century since the first protests and critiques of the exclusion of ‘others’ from the art canon.
With increased globalization and shifting geopolitics, the art field is expanding beyond its Euro-American focus, as is particularly evident in the large-scale international biennales now held all over the globe. Are canons and counter-canons still relevant? Can they be re-envisioned rather than merely revised? Following an introduction that discusses these issues, thirteen newly commissioned essays present case studies of consecration in the contemporary art field, and three commissioned discussions present diverse positions on issues of the canon and consecration processes today.
This volume will be of interest to instructors and students of contemporary art, art history, and museum and curatorial studies.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Re-envisioning the Canon: Are Pluriversal Canons Possible?
Ruth E. Iskin
Part I: Artists
Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore: Casualties of a Backfiring Canon?
Tirza True Latimer
Jean-Michel Basquiat and the American Art Canon
Jordana Moore Saggese
Sheila Hicks and the Consecration of Fiber Art
The Elephant in the Church: Ai Weiwei, the Media Circus and the Global Canon
El Anatsui’s Abstractions: Transformations, Analogies and the New Global
Part II: Mediums/Media
The Apotheosis of Video Art
Performance Art: Part of the Canon?
Street Art: Critique, Commodification, Canonization
Paula J. Birnbaum
New Media Art and Canonization: A Round-Robin Conversation
Sarah Cook with Karin de Wild
Part III: Exhibitions, Museums, Markets
On the Canon of Exhibition History
Canonizing Hitler’s "Degenerate Art" in Three American Exhibitions, 1939‒1942
The Commodification of the Contemporary Artist and High-Profile Solo Exhibition:
The Case of Takashi Murakami
Troubling Canons: Curating and Exhibiting Women’s and Feminist Art, A Roundtable Discussion
The Contemporary Art Canon and the Market, A Roundtable Discussion
Jonathan T. D. Neil
List of Contributors
Ruth E. Iskin is the author of The Poster: Art, Advertising, Design, and Collecting, 1860s-1900s (2014) and Modern Women and Parisian Consumer Culture in Impressionist Painting (2007). Her articles appeared in the Art Bulletin, Discourse, and Nineteenth-Century Art World Wide among others, and in anthologies and museum catalogues, most recently of the Guggenheim, Bilbau. A member of the Department of the Arts faculty, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev until 2014, she currently lectures and teaches in Israel and abroad.
Re-envisioning the Contemporary Art Canon is a timely, necessary volume, one that asks—across lucid and jargon-free case studies and equally dynamic round-table discussions—whither the place of the art historical canon in a contemporary art world. Answers diverge, and for the better. Taken together the texts model a pluriversal discourse that may well become a standard of its own.
Suzanne Hudson, Associate Professor of Art History and Fine Arts, University of Southern California, USA
Re-envisioning the Contemporary Art Canon is an intellectually astute intervention into the growing literature on contemporary art, its validation and significance within the history of art. Through a series of fascinating essays and well-written introductory sections, this book sets out the premises for a critical account of how contemporary art canons get created in a range of institutional and discursive contexts globally.
Jonathan Harris, Professor in Global Art and Design Studies, Birmingham City University, UK
Re-envisioning the Contemporary Art Canon is a wonderful contribution that examines art historical canons and the political, social, and ethical forces that shape and reshape them. In examining canons in myriad contexts, this text pressures us to rethink how we understand and categorize art and the artworld in our globalized present.
Steven Nelson, University of California, Los Angeles, USA
The concept of the canon is a persistent one; even when considered obsolete, it continues to operate covertly in collecting, exhibition and scholarly practices. This volume brings the concept out into the open for a full and intensive discussion of its problematics and possibilities. At a time when geopolitical, gender and postcolonial perspectives are generating more inclusive methods in curating and art history, Re-envisioning the Contemporary Art Canon provides a compelling argument to not only critique the canon but to strategically reconceive it for the twenty-first century.
Jim Drobnick and Jennifer Fisher, Editors, Journal of Curatorial Studies