Juli 2018
07.07.2018 -
2018 / 201807 / 201808 / Ausstellung
Isabel Reiß
Waben, Schlangen, Felder

Isabel Reiß

Tuesday, 17.12.2013


Alfred Gell on Art
Adam Jasper


Writing rapidly, in the last year of his life, and conscious of a terminal illness, the distinguished anthropologist Alfred Gell developed a highly original approach to the anthropology of art. The topic had been neglected for over a century, in spite of the fashion for primitivism within the art world, as anthropology had focused its attention on questions such as kinship systems. What Gell suggested was an approach called "methodological philistinism", by which art is treated not so much as an expression of genius or cultivated taste, but rather as a field of animism and ritual. His approach, as laid out in the posthumous "Art and Agency" (1998) has sweeping implications for questions of the role of aesthetics, the marginality of ornament, and cross-cultural theories of art. A resurgence of interest in Gell's work is currently to be seen in anthropology, and his work is increasingly being applied in other fields. This lecture will introduce "methodological philistinism", abduction, agency, and ornament, with the aid of pictures, explain their importance, and show how Gell's theory might be used to resolve or aggravate some contemporary controversies in the fine arts.


Posted by Stefan Wagner