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.
Howard Morphy is Director, Centre for Cross-Cultural Research, The Australian National University.
Preface Introduction Chapter 1: Cross-Cultural Categories and the Inclusion of Aboriginal Art Section 1: A Short History of Yolngu Art Chapter 2: The History Begins Chapter 3: Bark Painting and the Emergence of Yolngu Fine Art Chapter 4: Dialogue and Change Section 2: Engaging with Art History Chapter 5: Visuality and Representation in Yolngu Art Chapter 6: Style and Meaning: Abelam Art through Yolngu Eyes Chapter 7: Art Theory and Art Discourse Across Cultures Section 3: Yolngu Art and the Chimera of Fine Art Chapter 8: Placing Indigenous Art in the Gallery Chapter 9: Conclusion