African Art in Western Museums: Issues and Perspectives
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.
This item is only available in print in the UCF Libraries. If this is your thesis or dissertation, you can help us make it available online for use by researchers around the world by downloading and filling out the Internet Distribution Consent Agreement. You may also contact the project coordinator Kerri Bottorff for more information.
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Arts and Sciences
Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic; Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities; Art, African -- Exhibitions; Art, Black -- Africa -- Exhibitions
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Petty, Nancy, "African Art in Western Museums: Issues and Perspectives" (2006). HIM 1990-2015. 548.