Accepted Paper:

Pseudo-anthropology, fetish, fake and ready-made  

Author:

Marcus Moore (Massey University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper considers the acceptance of the potential capital locked into the legacy of ready-made and replication in twentieth century art to pose a certain conflict for ownership, art and anthropology.

Paper long abstract:

This paper draws upon the work of Francis Upritchard (b. 1976 NZ), a contemporary artist's appropriation of pseudo- anthropological methods. She re-fashions artefacts deliberately crudely, and, in her instance, the works become highly desired and valued art forms in today's mainstream contemporary art world. Upritchard is represented in the Saatchi and Saatchi Collection, London where she is now based, and by high profile dealers in New York. She will represent New Zealand at the 2009 Venice Biennale. Upritchard is not a trained field anthropologist or archaeologist, nor is her background in the social sciences. Rather, she takes fascination in the conventions of material exhibition in museums, and as a maker of pseudo-ritualistic and archaeological artefacts sardonically poses questions of human evolution, where creative cultural ownership becomes contentious. The work is derivative of the historical legacy of assisted and found objects and anthropomorphic representations in Dada (c. 1914-23). Further complication arises because the value of her art is dichotomous: on the one side, the appearance of specific cultural signifier in her work rests upon a fake and the covert ready-made. But, it is precisely because of this that her work is granted value. Playing with in-authenticity partially legitimises why such work operates successfully within the contemporary and corporate art markets. A wider question therefore looms as a starting point for ready-made and material culture. Does the art market's ignominious acceptance of the potential capital locked into the legacy of ready-made and replication in twentieth century art pose a certain conflict for ownership, art and anthropology?

Panel P01
Modalities, materialities and metamorphoses