The Culture Game

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Overview

In self-congratulatory tones of tolerance and open-mindedness, the Western gatekeepers of the contemporary art world-gallery owners and museum curators, patrons and promoters-take great pains to demonstrate their inclusive vision of world culture. They highlight the Latin American show mounted "a few years ago" or the African works featured in a recent exhibition of non-Western artists. Non-Western artists soon discover that this veneer of liberalism masks an array of unwritten, unspoken, and unseemly codes and quotas dictating the acquisition and exhibition of their works and the success of their careers. In past decades, cultural institutions and the critical establishment in the West resisted difference; today, they are obsessed with exoticism. Both attitudes reflect firmly entrenched prejudices that prescribe the rules of what Nigerian-born artist, curator, and scholar Olu Oguibe terms the "culture game."In the celebrated, controversial essays gathered here, Oguibe exposes the disparities and inconsistencies of the reception and treatment afforded Western and non-Western artists; the obstacles that these contradictions create for non-Western and minority artists, especially those who live and practice in the Western metropolis; and the nature and peculiar concerns of contemporary non-Western art as it deals with the ramifications and residues of the colonial encounter as well as its own historical and cultural past. Ranging from the impact of the West's appetite for difference on global cultural relations and the existence of a digital Third World to the African redefinition of modernity, Oguibe's uncompromising and unapologetic criticism provides a uniquely global vision of contemporary art and culture. Olu Oguibe is a visual artist, writer, scholar, and curator. He is associate professor of art and art history at the University of Connecticut.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
A Nigerian-born artist, curator, and scholar, Oguibe (art & art history, Univ. of Connecticut; Reading the Contemporary: African Art from Theory to the Marketplace) navigates the complex systems of prejudice and exclusion still firmly in place within the contemporary Western art world. In this series of engaging essays, he examines the work of several important artists of African decent, including analysis of how these artists have circumvented institutional blockades. Also addressed throughout are the facades of liberal inclusion that merely mask a renewed obsession with exoticism. Oguibe, who has curated exhibitions at the Tate Modern in London, the Contemporary Art Museum in Tampa, FL, and the City Museum in Mexico City, points out how some artists are faced with complacency and/or engagement in such exoticism for professional survival. Though the author is clearly disapproving of the Western hegemony, the voice that comes through is well reasoned, scholarly, and convincing. Recommended for academic libraries.-D'Arcy Curwen, San Bernardino, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816641307
  • Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
  • Publication date: 11/30/2003
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Prologue
Pt. I Terrain of Difficulty
In "The Heart of Darkness" 3
Art, Identity, Boundaries: Postmodernism and Contemporary African Art 10
Play Me the "Other": Colonialist Determinism and the Postcolonial Predicament 18
Double Dutch and the Culture Game 33
Pt. II Nation, History, Image
Nationalism, Modernity, Modernism 47
"Footprints of a Mountaineer": Uzo Egonu and Black Redefinition of Modernism 60
Photography and the Substance of the Image 73
Medium, Memory, Image 90
Represent'n: The Young Generation in African American Art 121
The Burden of Painting 139
Pt. III Brave "New World"
Forsaken Geographies: Cyberspace and the New World "Other" 149
On Digital "Third Worlds": An Interview 159
Connectivity and the Fate of the Unconnected 169
Notes 179
Previous Publications 191
Index 193
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