Icons of the Desert: Early Aboriginal Paintings from Papunya

Icons of the Desert: Early Aboriginal Paintings from Papunya

by Roger Benjamin, Fred Myers, Vivien Johnson, Hetti Perkins
     
 

Icons of the Desert is an exhibition catalog produced by the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University for a show featuring forty-nine "dot-paintings" produced by Aboriginal artists from the settlement of Panpunya. Dot-painting has become...See more details below

Overview

Icons of the Desert is an exhibition catalog produced by the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University for a show featuring forty-nine "dot-paintings" produced by Aboriginal artists from the settlement of Panpunya. Dot-painting has become...

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This catalog and the exhibit it accompanies constitute a hinge event in the brief, vivid history of the desert art movement and its journey from the reddish plains of Papunya into the world. Indeed, nothing will be quite the same again in our understanding of this art. . . . It has all the paradigm-changing potential, if on a smaller stage, of the celebrated 1939 New York retrospective of Picasso's early work. . . . Benjamin contributes a detailed curatorial essay combining an aerial view of the literature on the early boards with a set of thrilling stabs of his own. The effect of this bravura piece of criticism is to liberate the viewer from the perspectives of anthropology and to encourage a new mode of looking at Papunya work. He gives due weight to the established pathways in desert art, citing the notes on individual paintings prepared by early art co-ordinators and listing the story-cycle summaries, songlines and dreaming diagrams collected from the artists. But Benjamin's eyes and mind have lingered with Matisse and Cezanne; he is an active interpreter and fulfils his brief to treat the paintings as art. Above all, he is interested in finding out how they work on us, with the idea that knowing something of this increases our appreciation of the effect."—Nicolas Rothwell, The Australian

"The exciting and harrowing story of the Western Desert art movement unfolds in Icons of the Desert. . . . The cultural complexity is not lost—indeed, it is finely narrated through the paintings on view. . . . The catalog is definitive, if only for the reason that curator Roger Benjamin enlisted essays from specialists, especially that of anthropologist Fred Myers, who did his fieldwork in Papunya in the 1970s and has written two books on the Western Desert people."—Marjorie Welish, New York Observer, 14 September 2009

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781934260067
Publisher:
Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University
Publication date:
02/13/2009
Series:
Distributed for the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University Series
Pages:
150
Product dimensions:
11.20(w) x 11.20(h) x 0.90(d)

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