The New Art History: A Critical Introduction

The New Art History: A Critical Introduction

The New Art History: A Critical Introduction

The New Art History: A Critical Introduction

Synopsis

The New Art History provides a comprehensive introduction to the fundamental changes which have occurred in both the institutions and practice of art history over the last thirty years. Jonathan Harris examines and accounts for the new approaches to the study of art which have been grouped loosely under the term 'the new art history'. He distinguishes between these and earlier forms of 'radical' or 'critical' analysis, explores the influence of other disciplines and traditions on art history, and relates art historical ideas and values to social change. Structured around an examination of key texts by major contemporary critics, including Griselda Pollock, Fred Orton, Albert Boime, Alan Wallach and Laura Mulvey, each chapter discusses a key moment in the discipline of art history, tracing the development and interaction of Marxist, feminist and psychoanalytic critical theories. Individual chapters include: * Capitalist Modernity, the Nation-State and Visual Representation * Feminism, Art, and Art History * Subjects, Identities and Visual Ideology * Structures and Meanings in Art and Society * The Representation of Sexuality

Excerpt

The discipline of art history has undergone fundamental change over the last thirty years. This book attempts to characterise some of the major aspects of these changes and to provide the outline of an explanation of them. This is a formidable task and my account will necessarily be limited in lots of respects. Nevertheless, my intention is to draw together an account of changes within the intellectual character of the subject with an account of the varying and overlapping 'situations' - institutional, historical, broadly social and political - within which these changes have occurred, in the period since about 1970. Given the relative brevity of this study, kept to this length in order hopefully to attract a readership that is as wide and big as possible, yet also given the ambitiousness of my aim - that is, to provide the beginnings of what might be called a 'social history of art history' since the 1970s - it should be obvious that my choice of themes, materials, and case-studies has had to be highly selective. Indeed, beyond these constituent elements, all my analytic cues (for example, art history 'since about 1970') and basic assumptions (for example, that art history is an identifiable 'discipline' at all, and therefore can be said to have a coherent 'intellectual character') are equally provisional, by which I mean questionable. This study, therefore, is offered as a contribution to a developing understanding of the history of an area of knowledge. While I certainly believe my account is true, I recognise that it is based on a particular, contingent focus, related to a set of specific interests, emphases, and arguments that isn't offered, and could not stand, as a full or exhaustive explanation.

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