Art History and Its Discontents in Global Times
Parul Dave Mukherji
(School of Arts and Aesthetics)
Paper short abstract:
What becomes of nationalist art histories when the world shrinks into a planet? The talk will explore the disciplinary crisis in the study of Indian art brought on by globalization and examine the anthropological turn that led to the formation of the discipline of visual studies in its wake.
Paper long abstract:
What becomes of nationalist art histories when the world shrinks into a planet? The impact of globalization is most felt in the withering away of the frame of the national modern that manifests differently within “new” art history and contemporary art practice in India. While within the former, it is marked by the cultural studies turn that led to the formation of visual studies, contemporary art practice responds to globalization by invoking the figure of an ethnographer after which is modeled the self description of an artist. In both the cases, anthropology offers critical tools to address questions of temporality and spatiality or territoriality of art practice. If the thrust of art writing shifts from the “when” to the “where” of art, how does it make visible new objects and cultural practices ? The paper will also examine the current disenchantment with postcolonialism and explore its political purchase in present reorientation of the discipline of art history.