African Art in Transit

ISBN-10: 0521457521
ISBN-13: 9780521457521
Edition: 1993
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Description: African Art in Transit is an absorbing account of the commodification and circulation of African art objects in the international art market. Christopher Steiners analysis of the role of the African middleman in linking those who produce and supply  More...

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Book details

List price: $67.00
Copyright year: 1993
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 1/27/1994
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 240
Size: 5.75" wide x 9.00" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 1.210
Language: English

African Art in Transit is an absorbing account of the commodification and circulation of African art objects in the international art market. Christopher Steiners analysis of the role of the African middleman in linking those who produce and supply works of art in Africa with those who buy and collect so-called primitive art in Europe and America is based on extensive field research among the art traders in Cte dIvoire. Steiner provides a lucid interpretation which reveals not only a complex economic network with its own internal logic and rules, but also an elaborate process of transcultural valuation and exchange. By focusing directly on the intermediaries in the African art trade, he unveils a critical new perspective on how symbolic codes and economic values are mediated in the context of shifting geographic and cultural domains. He questions conventional definitions of authenticity in African art by demonstrating how the categories authentic and traditional are continually redefined.

Christopher B. Steiner is an author, researcher, and professor of Art History at Connecticut College. He is also the Director of the Museum Studies Program and directs the interdisciplinary Museum Studies Certificate Program. Steiner also taught art history and museum studies at the University of East Anglia, the University of Southern California, and the University of California - Los Angeles. Steiner conducted field research on the African art trade while he was a Fulbright scholar in Ivory Coast in 1987-88. He was awarded a postdoctoral fellow at the American Museum of Natural History. Steiner holds a B.A. and M.A. from Johns Hopkins University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University. He is the author of the award-winning book: African Art in Transit.

Introduction: the anthropology of African art in a transnational market
Commodity outlets and the classification of goods
The division of labor and the management of capital
An economy of words: bargaining and the social production of value
The political economy of ethnicity in a plural market
The quest for authenticity and the invention of African art
Cultural brokerage and the mediation of knowledge
Conclusion: African art and the discourses of value

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