Contemporary African Art

Overview

The twentieth century has been a period of major disruption for traditional institutions in Africa. But even as old forms of art patronage were being suppressed, new avenues of artistic expression opened up. Postcolonial art in Africa has built seamlessly upon already existing structures in which precolonial and colonial genres of African art were made. It is in this sense, and in the habits and attitudes of artists towards making art, rather than in any adherence to a particular style, medium, technique, or ...

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Overview

The twentieth century has been a period of major disruption for traditional institutions in Africa. But even as old forms of art patronage were being suppressed, new avenues of artistic expression opened up. Postcolonial art in Africa has built seamlessly upon already existing structures in which precolonial and colonial genres of African art were made. It is in this sense, and in the habits and attitudes of artists towards making art, rather than in any adherence to a particular style, medium, technique, or thematic range, that the art is recognizably "African." Sidney Littlefield Kasfir, Associate Professor of Art History at Emory University, has taught, curated, and carried out extensive field research in Nigeria, Uganda, and Kenya, and has made briefer research trips to nine other African countries. Her critical history examines the major themes and accomplishments in African art from the past fifty years, achieving an impressive balance between the critical reexamination of frequently discussed artists, groups, and workshops and the introduction of less publicized or more recent material.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
While respect for modern African art has been slow to develop in the Western world, Kasfir's book is solid evidence that attitudes are changing. Formerly, contemporary African art was seen as a deterioration and degradation of the traditional arts, which had only won grudging admiration in the West under the influence of the modernists. Over the last 15 years, a growing list of books re-evaluating modern African art have appeared, and Kasfir's is among the best and most thorough. Focusing primarily on the period from the 1950s into the 1980s, Kasfir (art history, Emory Univ.) analyzes the political and social dynamics that have shaped the many directions that modern African art have taken. The introduction usefully explores how the subject has been previously handled and explains the author's innovative approach. Accompanying the text are numerous illustrations, satisfactory in quality if sometimes too small or dark to be fully useful. This important milestone in our changing view of world art is highly recommended for any library with art holdings.--Eugene C. Burt, Data Arts, Seattle Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
School Library Journal
YA-Three excellent series titles. Contemporary African Art emphasizes the changes in the art of this continent in the last half of the 20th century. Maya Art examines the reasons behind the artwork and ways the buildings were constructed, incorporating new archaeological findings. They include recent deciphers of Mayan writing that provide understanding to the ceramics, sculpture, architecture, murals, and books. Amazingly, op art and pop art have become almost traditional. With chapters on performance art (Rauschenberg), video, digital, and virtual reality, New Media truly introduces the new wave. The paper in these compact books is of high quality, resulting in outstanding, almost platelike reproduction of the numerous color and black-and-white photos. The illustrations are fully captioned and they alone could justify purchase of these titles.-Claudia Moore, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780500203286
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson
  • Publication date: 2/28/2000
  • Series: World of Art Series
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Sidney Littlefield Kasfir is Associate Professor of Art History at Emory University in Atlanta and Curator of African Art at Michael C. Carlos Museum, also at Emory University. She studied Physics before embarking on Fine Arts at Harvard University and then managed the Nommo Gallery in Uganda. She completed her PhD on African Art at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and went on to do postdoctoral research at the University of Oxford. Since 1981 she has divided her time between teaching and curating in the USA and fieldwork in Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda. She was editor of the anthology West African Masks and Cultural Systems and is working on a study of the colonial and postcolonial transformation of Idoma and Samburu art. She has also written many articles and essays.

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Table of Contents

Preface 7
Introduction 9
Ch. 1 New Genres: Inventing African Popular Culture 18
Ch. 2 Transforming the Workshop 48
Ch. 3 Patrons and Mediators 64
Ch. 4 Art and Commodity 102
Ch. 5 The African Artist: Shifting Identities in the Postcolonial World 124
Ch. 6 The Idea of a National Culture: Decolonizing African Art 166
Ch. 7 Migration and Displacement 190
Bibliography 214
List of Illustrations 218
Index 222
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