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Primitive Art in Civilized Places: Second Edition

Primitive Art in Civilized Places: Second Edition
Author: Sally Price
ISBN 13: 9780226680675
ISBN 10: 226680673
Edition: 1
Publisher: University Of Chicago Press
Publication Date: 2002-01-01
Format: Paperback
Pages: 176
List Price: $26.00

What is so "primitive" about primitive art? And how do we dare to use our standards to judge it? Drawing on an intriguing mixture of sources-including fashion ads and films, her own anthropological research, and even comic strips like Doonesbury—Price explores the cultural arrogance implicit in Westerners' appropriation of non-Western art.

"[Price] presents a literary collage of the Western attitude to other cultures, and in particular to the visual art of the Third and Fourth Worlds. . . . Her book is not about works of 'primitive art' as such, but about the Western construction 'Primitive Art.' It is a critique of Western ignorance and arrogance: ignorance about other cultures and arrogance towards them."—Jeremy Coote, Times Literary Supplement

"The book is infuriating, entertaining, and inspirational, leaving one feeling less able than before to pass judgment on 'known' genres of art, but feeling more confident for that."—Joel Smith, San Francisco Review of Books

"[A] witty, but scholarly, indictment of the whole primitive-art business, from cargo to curator. And because she employs sarcasm as well as pedagogy, Price's book will probably forever deprive the reader of the warm fuzzies he usually gets standing before the display cases at the local ethnographic museum."—Newsweek


Challenging Western art connoisseurship and cultural interpretation, Price argues for reconsideration of such notions as the anonymity of primitive artists and the idea that that Great Civilizations. She asserts that the Western appropriation of non-Western art is ultimately an act of profound cultural arrogance. No index. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)