Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

For Folk's Sake: Art and Economy in Twentieth-Century Nova Scotia

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

For Folk's Sake: Art and Economy in Twentieth-Century Nova Scotia

Article excerpt

Erin Morton, For Folk's Sake: Art and Economy in Twentieth-Century Nova Scotia (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2016), 424 pp. 76 full-colour photos. Cased. $120. ISBN 978-0-7735-4811-4. Paper. $44.95. ISBN 978-0-7735-4812-1.

In For Folk's Sake: Art and Economy in Twentieth-Century Nova Scotia, Erin Morton addresses the emergence of folk art as it coincides with Nova Scotia's shifting economy by considering contemporary notions of Nova Scotia folk art through past changes in the various cultural cycles of capitalism. Morton argues how 'folk art acted as a paradigm of modernization at a moment when both capitalist modernity and modernist artistic practices were transforming Nova Scotia' (p. 9).

This volume is divided into two sections: the first part, 'Art Institutions and the Institutionalisation of Folk Art', delivers the theoretical groundwork and insight into the economic climate of the art world in Nova Scotia, while the second part explores the paradoxical life, prolific works, and corporate branding of Maud Lewis as integral to the cultural identity of Nova Scotia's past. Included is an analysis of the development of Nova Scotia art institutions, such as the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD), and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (AGNS), and their roles in bringing folk art to the corporate museum and professionally trained art worlds. In doing so, folk art became identified for its association to the province's folkloric and simpler past, symbolic of the traditional, rural, and isolated lives of its makers. …

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