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Hominids have always been obsessed with representing their own bodies. The first "selfies" were prehistoric negative hand images and human stick figures, followed by stone and ceramic representations of the human figure. Thousands of years later, moving via historic art and literature to contemporary social media, the contemporary term "selfie" was self-generated. The book illuminates some "selfies". This collection of critical essays about the fixation on the human self addresses a multi-faceted geographic set of cultures -- the Iberian Peninsula to pre-Columbian America and Hispanic America -- analysing such representations from medical, literal and metaphorical perspectives over centuries. Chapter contributions address the representation of the body itself as subject, in both visual and textual manners, and illuminate attempts at control of the environment, of perception, of behaviour and of actions, by artists and authors. Other chapters address the body as subjected to circumstance, representing the body as affected by factors such as illness, injury, treatment and death. These myriad effects on the body are interpreted through the brushes of painters and the pens of authors for social and/or personal control purposes. The essays reveal critics' insights when "selfies" are examined through a focused "lens" over a breadth of cultures. The result, complex and unique, is that what is viewed -- the visual art and literature under discussion -- becomes a mirror image, indistinguishable from the component viewing apparatus, the "lens".
Explore the life and art of legendary Navajo silversmith Fred Peshlakai, and see how his masterful art began and evolved. Beginning with the history of the Navajo people, it follows world events impacting the American Southwest and the Navajo culture precipitating in the development of their unique expressions of art rendered with silver and stone. Nineteenth-century evolution of the art form is reviewed, shining a particular light on certain ambiguities regarding important interrelationships between its most famous figures. Fred Peshlakai hailed from one of the most recognized artistic bloodlines of his noble people. This book is the beginning catalogue of his beautiful silver artwork with hundreds of images and their individual technical and artistic expressions discussed. No longer mythical, Fred Peshlakai is shown to be one of the most, if not the most, influential Navajo artisan to impact the creation of Navajo Silver Art and his art the world-class art treasures that they truly are.
In Art for an Undivided Earth Jessica L. Horton reveals how the spatial philosophies underlying the American Indian Movement (AIM) were refigured by a generation of artists searching for new places to stand. Upending the assumption that Jimmie Durham, James Luna, Kay WalkingStick, Robert Houle, and others were primarily concerned with identity politics, she joins them in remapping the coordinates of a widely shared yet deeply contested modernity that is defined in great part by the colonization of the Americas. She follows their installations, performances, and paintings across the ocean and back in time, as they retrace the paths of Native diplomats, scholars, performers, and objects in Europe after 1492. Along the way, Horton intervenes in a range of theories about global modernisms, Native American sovereignty, racial difference, archival logic, artistic itinerancy, and new materialisms. Writing in creative dialogue with contemporary artists, she builds a picture of a spatially, temporally, and materially interconnected world-an undivided earth.
The cave art of France's Dordogne region is world-famous for the mythology and beauty of its remarkable drawings and paintings. These ancient images of lively bison, horses, and mammoths, as well as symbols of all kinds, are fascinating touchstones in the development of human culture, demonstrating how far humankind has come and reminding us of the ties that bind us across the ages. Over more than twenty-five years of teaching and research, Christine Desdemaines-Hugon has become an unrivaled expert in the cave art and artists of the Dordogne region. In her new book she combines her expertise in both art and archaeology to convey an intimate understanding of the "cave experience." Her keen insights communicate not only the incomparable artistic value of these works but also the near-spiritual impact of viewing them for oneself. Focusing on five fascinating sites, including the famed Font de Gaume and others that still remain open to the public, Stepping-Stones reveals striking similarities between art forms of the Paleolithic and works of modern artists and gives us a unique pathway toward understanding the culture of the Dordogne Paleolithic peoples and how it still touches our lives today.
Art of the Northwest Coast is a comprehensive survey of the Native arts of the Pacific Northwest Coast, from Puget Sound to Alaska and from prehistoric times to the present. Incorporating the region's social history with the observations of anthropologists, historians of art, and Native peoples, this groundbreaking volume examines how the upheavals of European contact affected the development of a powerful traditional art. By exploring the distinct origins of each of the area's linguistic groups and their histories, mythologies, and art forms, art historian Aldona Jonaitis reveals how a complex web of factors informed these groups' varied responses to the changes and challenges brought about by contact with Europeans. The post-contact period has often been considered a time of decline for Native artistic traditions and techniques, but Jonaitis convincingly argues against this assumption. The traditions were not lost, she asserts, but rather were expressed in different ways. Forms such as tourist art - made expressly for sale rather than for community use - were for some the only outlets available in the trying, repressive years when Natives were deprived of their land, rights, and essential cultural expressions. While art made for community use was often judged "inferior" in quality to nineteenth-century creations, it still expressed the strong aesthetics of a surviving Native culture. Since the 1960s, Native artistic activity has flourished and is increasingly recognized as fine art rather than anthropological artifact. Repatriation of Native works of art from museums, a strong market for collectors and dealers, and a reaffirmation of traditional culture and heritage among Native communities all contribute to a vibrant field in which Native artists reflect their enduring cultures in works that explore many contemporary directions. Compellingly written and beautifully illustrated, Art of the Northwest Coast is a cornerstone addition to any library and essential reading for anyone interested in the art of Native cultures.
Featuring more than 500 photos and maps, this is the first comprehensive, research-based history of Navajo weavings with imagery inspired by tribal sacred practices. These Yei, Yeibichai, and sandpainting textiles have been the most sought after by collectors and the least studied by scholars. In spite of their iconography, they never served a ceremonial function. They were created by Navajo women at the instigation of Anglo traders, for sale to wealthy collectors willing to pay premium prices for their perceived spiritual symbolism. This book describes the historical and artistic development of the genre from its controversial emergence around 1900, to the 1920-1940 period of intense creativity, and concluding with the contemporary search for innovative patterns. Never-before-published weavings, detailed annotations, and an extensive bibliography make this an invaluable reference for scholars and collectors, and a fascinating exploration for all who are interested in the Southwest and its native cultures.
India is home to a range of folk and tribal artists, from rich and varied cultural backgrounds. Much of what we learn about these communities - who often exist on the margins of mainstream society - is through their representation in a museum. It is a space that constructs identities in very particular ways. This pioneering dialogue with 47 extraordinary folk and tribal artists from across India focusses on the idea of a museum - particularly for communities historically regarded as anthropological subjects. In their visual responses, artists reflect on the museum as an institution, and the way it preserves, creates and disseminates knowledge. Do these representations communicate a lived life? What are the artists' own ways of remembering and passing on tradition? And finally: who has the power to put whom in a museum?
Maya art and hieroglyphs constitute one of the world's most fascinating, visually striking, and complex systems of expression. Most scholarly interpretations of Maya art and culture have emphasized that this ancient civilization was oriented toward inland centers and preoccupied with the blood of royal lineage and ritual sacrifice. Drawing on recent archaeological discoveries and developments in deciphering Maya glyphs, this groundbreaking volume presents a revisionist reading that shifts the emphasis of interpretation to the mythic power of the sea as the basis of a larger, deeper cultural narrative and history for the Maya. Surrounded by the sea in all directions, the Maya viewed water as a source of both life and danger. Through the artworks presented-including acknowledged masterpieces and many never before exhibited in the United States-readers will gain a new appreciation for water's influence on Maya cosmology, its role in their interpretation of the supernatural, as well as its impact on Maya cross-cultural contacts, trading practices, and power dynamics. Essays by prominent scholars provide an interdisciplinary context for understanding Maya art as well as new interpretations of traditional iconography and symbolism. Accompanying a monumental exhibition comprising almost 100 artworks ranging from carved stone monuments to delicate jade sculptures, this compelling, richly illustrated publication will fundamentally transform the interpretation of Maya art.
A stunning survey of the indigenous art, architecture, and spiritual beliefs of the Americas, from the Precolumbian era to the 20th century This landmark publication catalogues the Art Institute of Chicago's outstanding collection of Indian art of the Americas, one of the foremost of its kind in the United States. Showcasing a host of previously unpublished objects dating from the Precolumbian era to the 20th century, the book marks the first time these holdings have been comprehensively documented. Richard Townsend and Elizabeth Pope weave an overarching narrative that ranges from the Midwestern United States to the Yucatan Peninsula to the heart of South America. While exploring artists' myriad economic, historical, linguistic, and social backgrounds, the authors demonstrate that they shared both a deep, underlying cosmological view and the desire to secure their communities' prosperity by affirming connections to the sacred forces of the natural world. The critical essays focus on topics that bridge traditions across North, Central, and South America, including materials, methods of manufacture, the diversity of stylistic features, and the iconography and functions of various objects. Gorgeously illustrated in color with more than 500 vibrant images, this handsome catalogue serves as the definitive survey of an unparalleled collection.
Indigenism is not folk art. It is a vanguard movement conceived of by intellectuals and artists conversant in international modernist idioms and defined in response to global trends. Beyond National Identity traces changes in Andean artists' vision of indigenous peoples as well as shifts in the critical discourse surrounding their work between 1920 and 1960. By challenging the notion of pictorial indigenism as a direct expression of national identity, Greet demonstrates the complexity of the indigenists' critical engagement with European and pan-American cultural developments and presents the trend in its global context. Through case studies of works by three internationally renowned Ecuadoran artists, Camilo Egas, Eduardo Kingman Riofrio, and Oswaldo Guayasamin Calero, Beyond National Identity pushes the idea of modernism in new directions--both geographically and conceptually--to challenge the definitions and boundaries of modern art.
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