P069
Confluences of Art History and Anthropology

Convenors:
Elizabeth Hodson (Newcastle University)
Format:
Panels
Location:
British Museum - Sackler B
Start time:
2 June, 2018 at 14:30
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

This panel explores both the historic and the contemporary interstices between anthropology and art history. How do anthropologists account for and best capture the disciplinary influences and rationale of contemporary art that is usually the preserve of an art historical reading?

Long abstract:

From the ecological sculptures of Lothar Baumgarten to the writings of George Bataille, the disciplines of art and anthropology have a shared, although chequered, ancestry. Within this the role of art historical narratives has often been sidelined, but anthropology's engagement with art is indebted to the field of art history for framing art as an anthropological subject and category. Described by Clémentine Deliss as 'sparring partners' (2012), their affiliation can be traced back to at least the mid-19th century, and the forming of anthropology, art history and contemporary art as distinct disciplines has been achieved through their delimitation from each other (Rampley 2000). This panel explores both the historic and the contemporary interstices between anthropology and art history: as a source of inspiration, debate and recognition artists often describe their work and working practice through the prism of what has come before. How do anthropologists account for and best capture the disciplinary influences and rationale of contemporary art that is usually the preserve of an art historical reading? Further to this, how are the disciplines of art history and anthropology themselves appropriated into and as part of the interpretative or hermeneutical work of curators, critics and artists. This panel is particularly keen to receive proposals from practitioners whose work is inter or cross-disciplinary.