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Discussion | African "Art" and the "Primitive"

nichsara
November 15, 2013

Discussion | African "Art" and the "Primitive"

nichsara

November 15, 2013
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  1. African  Art  and  the  “Primi0ve”    
    H.  Gene  Blocker,  “Is  Primi0ve  Art  
    Art?”  pp.  87-­‐97.    

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  2. Primi0ve?  Art?  
     
     
    What  cultural  baggage  to  the  terms  “primi0ve”  
    and  “art”  have  in  art  historical  discourse?    What  
    values  are  assigned  to  objects  when  labeled  
    with  these  terms?  

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  3. Vo0ve  statue  of  an  African  “Voodoo”  god  
    at  the  Musee  d’Ethnographie  du  Trocadero  
    (now  the  Musee  du  Quai  Branly),  c.  1900.  
    Pablo  Picasso  in  his  Studio  with  works  of  African  
    and  Oceanic  Art,  Bateau-­‐Lavoir,  Paris,  1908.    
     

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  4. “I  grasped  why  I  
    was  a  painter.  All  
    alone  in  that  
    museum,  
    surrounded  by  
    masks,  Red  Indian  
    dolls,  dummies  
    covered  with  dust.”    

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  5. Pablo  Picasso,  Bull:  Stages  I-­‐VIII,  1945.  
     
    “Bison”  or  Aurochs,  Altamira,  Spain,  12,500  
    BCE  
    “A]er  Altamira,  all  is  decadence.”  

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  6. Man  Ray.  Femme  et  
    sculpture  d'une  reine  
    babwa  (Cameroun),  before  
    1930.    

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  7. Pablo  Picasso,  Les  Demoiselles  d’Avignon,  1907.  

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  8. Pablo  Picasso,  Les  Demoiselles  d’Avignon,  1907.  

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  9. Mask, Etoumbi region, People`s Rebublic of
    the Congo. Wood, 14z. Musée Barbier-Müller,
    Geneva.

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  10. The  Problems  of  “Primi0ve  Art”  
    Blocker  isolates  some  problems  in  mul0cultural  educa0on  through  a  discussion  of  
    “primi0ve  art.”    What  are  some  of  the  solu0ons  he  proposes  for  these  problems?    
    What  do  you  think  of  these  solu0ons?    Can  you  propose  any  of  your  own?  
    Problem  1,  Cross-­‐cultural  comparison:  “Whenever  group  A  uses  A’s  
    concepts  to  describe  group  B’s  ac0vi0es,  problems  of  meaning  arise.”  (89)  
    Problem  2,  The  “Special  Nature”  of  Primi0ve  Art:  “Primi0ve  art  becomes  
    art,  not  through  the  primi0ve  peoples  who  made  and  make  such  objects,  
    but  through  Europeans  who  buy  and  collect  it.”  (89)  
    Problem  3,  Evalua0on:  “cross-­‐cultural  descrip0ons  always  involve  the  
    ‘poli0cs’  of  commendatory  or  derogatory  comparisons.”  (95)  
    Problem  4,  Mul0culturalism:  “We  have  acted  as  though  the  only  
    significant  contribu0ons  to  art,  science,  law,  morality,  literature  have  
    come  from  Europeans  (and  mainly  dead,  male  Europeans),  thus  ignoring  
    the  cultural  contribu0ons  of  other  tradi0ons.”  (87).  
       

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  11. How  does  Blocker’s  discussion  of  “primi0ve  art”  
    relate  to  larger  problems  related  to  defining  art?  

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