How to Read Oceanic Art
written by Eric Kjellgren
Yale University Press | ISBN 9780300204292
Paperback – 176 pages
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Art from Oceania, the region encompassing the islands of the central and south Pacific, spans hundreds of distinct artistic processes, formats, and mediums. Many people’s exposure to Oceanic art comes through its influence on the work of European artists, and therefore Oceanic works themselves often remain difficult for Western viewers to interpret and comprehend. How to Read Oceanic Art, the third book in a series of guides to understanding different artistic genres, helps elucidate this subject through explanation of specific objects.
The book analyzes the most illustrative Oceanic pieces from the Metropolitan Museum’s collection—including lively painted masks, powerful figurines, and intricately carved wooden poles—which together represent the extraordinary diversity of artistic traditions in the region. Attractive photography and clear, engaging texts explain how and why various works were made as well as how they were used. This publication is an invaluable resource for art historical study, and also an important gateway to wider appreciation of Oceanic heritage and visual culture.