The Making of an Aboriginal High Art
written by Fred R. Myers
Duke University Press | ISBN 9780822329497
Paperback – 440 pages
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"Painting Culture" tells the complex story of how, over the past three decades, the acrylic dot paintings of central Australia were transformed into objects of international high art, eagerly sought by upscale galleries and collectors. Since the early 1970s, Fred R. Myers has studied--often as a participant-observer--the Pintupi, one of several Aboriginal groups who paint the famous acrylic works. Describing their paintings and the complicated cultural issues they raise, Myers looks at how the paintings represent Aboriginal people and their culture and how their heritage is translated into exchangeable values. He tracks the way these paintings become high art as they move outward from indigenous communities through and among other social institutions-the world of dealers, museums, and critics. At the same time, he shows how this change in the status of the acrylic paintings is directly related to the initiative of the painters themselves and their hopes for greater levels of recognition.