By Nicholas Thomas

The anthropology of artwork is at present at a crossroads. even if good versed within the which means of artwork in small-scale tribal societies, anthropologists are nonetheless wrestling with the query of the way to interpret paintings in a posh, post-colonial atmosphere. Alfred Gell lately faced this challenge in his posthumous booklet paintings and employer. The principal thesis of his learn was once that artwork gadgets might be visible, no longer as bearers of which means or aesthetic price, yet as types mediating social motion. At a stroke, Gell provocatively brushed off many longstanding yet drained questions of definition and problems with aesthetic price. His ebook proposed a unique standpoint at the roles of paintings in political perform and made clean hyperlinks among analyses of fashion, culture and society.

Offering a brand new review of the anthropology of paintings, this e-book starts off the place Gell left off. proposing wide-ranging reviews of the bounds of aesthetic interpretation, the workings of gadgets in perform, the kinfolk among that means and efficacy and the politics of postcolonial paintings, its distinctive individuals either intricate on and dissent from the controversies of Gell's vital textual content. matters lined contain song and the net in addition to ethnographic traditions and modern indigenous paintings. Geographically its case experiences variety from India to Oceania to North the US and Europe.

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