The Anthropology of Art, after the End of Art: Contesting the Art-Culture System

Eugenia Kisin, Fred R. Myers

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


    We focus on the anthropology of art from the mid-1980s to the present, a period of disturbance and significant transformation in the field of anthropology. The field can be understood to be responding to the destabilization of the category of "art" itself. Inaugural moments lie in the reaction to the Museum of Modern Art's 1984 exhibition "Primitivism" in 20th Century Art, the increasing crisis of representation, the influence of "postmodernism," and the rising tide of decolonization and globalization, marked by the 1984 Te Maori exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Changes involve boundaries being negotiated, violated, and refigured, and not simply the boundaries between the so-called "West" and "the rest" but also those of "high" and "low," leading to a re-evaluation of public culture. In this review, we pursue the influence of changing theories of art and engagements with what had been noncanonical art in the mainstream art world, tracing multiple intersections between art and anthropology in the contemporary moment.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)317-334
    Number of pages18
    JournalAnnual review of anthropology
    StatePublished - Oct 21 2019


    • art theory
    • art worlds
    • circulation
    • critical practice
    • entanglement
    • ethnoaesthetics

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Cultural Studies
    • Anthropology
    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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