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Rethinking Australia’s Art History: The Challenge of Aboriginal Art By Susan Lowish

14 June 2018

 Rethinking Australia’s Art History

The Challenge of Aboriginal Art

By Susan Lowish

© 2018 – Routledge

Studies in Art Historiography

221 pages | 18 Color Illus. | 43 B/W Illus.



This book aims to redefine Australia’s earliest art history by chronicling for the first time the birth of the category “Aboriginal art,” tracing the term’s use through published literature in the late eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Susan Lowish reveals how the idea of “Aboriginal art” developed in the European imagination, manifested in early literature, and became a distinct classification with its own criteria and form. Part of the larger story of Aboriginal/European engagement, this book provides a new vision for an Australian art history reconciled with its colonial origins and in recognition of what came before the contemporary phenomena of Aboriginal art.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Writing a History of Encounters 2. Exploration and ‘Discovery’ 3. Searching for the Origin of Art 4. Seeing the Art of the First Australians 5. Evolutionists and Australian Aboriginal Art 6. ‘Aboriginal Art’ in the Writings of Baldwin Spencer 7. Collecting and Exhibiting: the Dawn of ‘Primitive Art’ Conclusion



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