Uncertain regard: An exhibition of aboriginal art in France

Fred R. Myers

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This paper is a study of one component of the recent and contemporary circulation of cultural objects, the exhibition of Australian Aboriginal acrylic paintings in a French museum. The author argues that the recent emphases on ‘appropriation ‘ and the primitivizing gaze ‘ are not sufficient to understand what happens when such objects circulate. To ask what does happen in circulation, at the sites of exhibition, is to ask how they are produced, inflected, and invoked in concrete institutional settings, which have distinctive histories, purposes, and structures of their own. The gazes’ (representations) which are discussed in this French example are analyzed within the specific conditions of their production to show how such exhibitions and circulations of culture are produced in relationship to the requirements internal to museums to distinguish themselves from others, to respond to claims placed upon them by their own institutional settings.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)7-47
    Number of pages41
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - 1998


    • Aboriginal art
    • Cultural production
    • Exhibition
    • France
    • Museums

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Anthropology
    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
    • Archaeology


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