Sacred Exchanges: Images in Global Context

Sacred Exchanges: Images in Global Context

by Robyn Ferrell
     
 

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As the international art market globalizes the indigenous image, it changes its identity, status, value, and purpose in local and larger contexts. Focusing on a school of Australian Aboriginal painting that has become popular in the contemporary art world, Robyn Ferrell traces the influence of cultural exchanges on art, the self, and attitudes toward the

Overview

As the international art market globalizes the indigenous image, it changes its identity, status, value, and purpose in local and larger contexts. Focusing on a school of Australian Aboriginal painting that has become popular in the contemporary art world, Robyn Ferrell traces the influence of cultural exchanges on art, the self, and attitudes toward the other.

Aboriginal acrylic painting, produced by indigenous women artists of the Australian Desert, bears a superficial resemblance to abstract expressionism and is often read as such by viewers. Yet to see this art only through a Western lens is to miss its unique ontology, logics of sensation, and rich politics and religion. Ferrell explores the culture that produces these paintings and connects its aesthetic to the brutal environmental and economic realities of its people. From here, she travels to urban locales, observing museums and department stores as they traffic interchangeably in art and commodities.

Ferrell ties the history of these desert works to global acts of genocide and dispossession. Rethinking the value of the artistic image in the global market and different interpretations of the sacred, she considers photojournalism, ecotourism, and other sacred sites of the western subject, investigating the intersection of modern art and postmodern culture. She ultimately challenges the primacy of the "European gaze" and its fascination with sacred cultures, constructing a more balanced intercultural dialogue that deemphasizes the aesthetic of the real championed by western philosophy.

Editorial Reviews

Evening Haze - Joshua Paetku
Through the lens of the Australian Aboriginal art movement Ferrell confronts the reader with some surprising truths about the world we live in and the myopic and murderous callousness which makes us inattentive to these realities.

Ewa Ziarek
Sacred Exchanges is beautifully written. One of its main strengths lies in its nuanced, interdisciplinary, and comparative approach. It skillfully negotiates among different cultural perspectives and theoretical approaches to art and politics, ranging from indigenous studies, feminism, and postcolonial studies to psychoanalysis and philosophy. Equally at home in all of these modes of interpretation, Robyn Ferrell at the same time exposes their limitations in the context of intercultural encounter with Western and non-Western art forms. This book strikes a felicitous balance between innovative theoretical analysis, the engaging interpretation of particular artists, and timely discussions of specific legal cases regarding the recognition of aboriginal rights.

Evening Haze
Through the lens of the Australian Aboriginal art movement Ferrell confronts the reader with some surprising truths about the world we live in and the myopic and murderous callousness which makes us inattentive to these realities.

— Joshua Paetku

Booknews
This book explores the intellectual history that has changed the way we think about family, moving away from a marriage-centered view of parenthood to a more child-centered one. Carbone (law, Santa Clara) examines the theory behind this transformation, analyzes the empirical evidence on which the debate over family and marriage is based, and ties this intellectual debate to the legal ramifications such as the deregulation of the relationship between husband and wife. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231148801
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
03/27/2012
Series:
Columbia Themes in Philosophy, Social Criticism, and the Arts Series
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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What People are saying about this

Kelly Oliver

Robyn Ferrell's latest book is a powerful and evocative engagementwith the complex of raced and gendered relationships produced by andexchanged through global economic art markets. She draws on herexperience with Warlipi women artists from the Australian Tanamidesert to challenge any easy distinctions between art and artifact,nature and culture, and, in complicated ways, aboriginal art andWestern art. She brings this aboriginal art to bear on Westernaesthetics in ways that not only challenge that aesthetics and themeaning of color, shape, form, and art itself, but also trouble whatis considered authentic aboriginal art. She discusses how much ofcontemporary aboriginal art is produced for Western markets that havein some significant ways transformed traditional practice. She alsoforges a conversation between aboriginal aesthetics and Westernaesthetics that pushes contemporary debates beyond their usuallycomfortable boundaries.

Kelly Oliver, W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy, Vanderbilt

Meet the Author

Robyn Ferrell is a research fellow in the Gender and Cultural Studies Department at the University of Sydney and has taught at the University of Melbourne, Macquarie University, and the University of Tasmania. She has also held visiting research positions at the London School of Economics and the University of Western Sydney and is the author of Copula: Sexual Technologies, Reproductive Powers, Genres of Philosophy and Passion in Theory: Conceptions of Freud and Lacan.

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