The Trouble with (the Term) Art
outside objects grouped together and called "primitive art". art by appropriation/intention
"art":special category of things and practices composed of subcategories (medium, function, geographic provenance, value, etc) NOT RECOGNIZED WORLDWIDE
The Sacred, The Secret, and the Ethics of Historical Interpretation
**to devise less ethnocentric ways to think about cultural production--many agencies--people manipulate whatever material is available in their environment to negotiate their relationship with the world.
"spanish colonial religious art always involves negotiations between natives and colonizers, b/c it was used as one of the main instruments of conversion, in a society where conversion was the Church's paramount task.
The Image Made by Chance
mimesis: images representing the real world. anti-mimesis: abstract
iconography: can "read" the art (esoteric knowledge) signifier: utterance & word. signified: concept. Ink Wang-get drunk-can reach higher level & communicate with cosmos; tapping into unconscious; getting "into" the painting=harmony. Asian-intimate w/canvas-being one w/art. Haifeng (painted over rocks) challenges signifiers and that we're always trying to assign meaning to art. Xu Bing: same challenge; fictional Mandarin alphabet; signification: always looking for meaning. we don't have a pre-conceived notion so we don't know.
Against the backdrop of Tradition
Navajo Sandpaintings serve as impermanent altars where ritual actions can take place; in their proper setting, if ritual rules are followed, they are the exact pictorial representation of supernaturals. Sacred symbols & through consecration are impregnated with supernatural power, becoming the temporary resting place of holiness. Considered dangerous & can be safely used only in the proper controlled context, at the right time, under the direction of highly trained specialists. NOT "art" in western sense; NOT spontaneous creations. ALWAYS destroyed at end of ritual.
Always True to the Object, In Our Fashion
"Almost nothing displayed in museums was made to be seen in them" 2 elements: curator & artist; RECONTEXTUALIZATION; 10 co-curators "the form IS the content" & "we can be insiders only in our own culture & our own time" & 'the fact that museums RECONTEXTUALIZE and interpret objects is a given, requiring no apologies"