Title

African Art in Western Museums: Issues and Perspectives

Abstract

African objects first appeared in Western collections in "cabinets of curiosities" in the sixteenth century. Following their "discovery" by modem European artists in the early twentieth century, African artifacts began their journey from ethnographic museums to major art museums. My study will explore the dramatic shift of Western attitudes towards African art through a critical overview and summary of selected scholarship on the subject and related exhibition catalogues. My thesis will show that the controversy generated by "Primitivism" in Twentieth Century Art, an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in 1984, helped forge a new direction in the display of African art based on agreement that greater emphasis must be placed on the diversity of African cultural traditions in addition to Western aesthetics. Exhibitions and related critical scholarship of the last century have shown that African art can be appreciated both for its inherent aesthetic qualities and as a part of the culture from which it arose. This thesis will also connect a contemporary exhibition of African art in a Florida museum with international developments in the field. My study will further emphasize that future exhibitions of African art should recognize African contributions to world cultural traditions.

Notes

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Thesis Completion

2006

Semester

Spring

Advisor

Cutler, Jody

Degree

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Program

Art History

Subjects

Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic; Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities; Art, African -- Exhibitions; Art, Black -- Africa -- Exhibitions

Format

Print

Identifier

DP0022090

Language

English

Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access

None

Document Type

Honors in the Major Thesis

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