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Western Art and the Wider World

ISBN: 978-1-118-59872-6
320 pages
December 2013, Wiley-Blackwell
Western Art and the Wider World (1118598725) cover image


Western Art and the Wider World explores the evolving relationship between the Western canon of art, as it has developed since the Renaissance, and the art and culture of the Islamic world, the Far East, Australasia, Africa and the Americas.

  • Explores the origins, influences, and evolving relationship between the Western canon of art as it has developed since the Renaissance and the art and culture of the Islamic world, the Far East, Australasia, Africa and the Americas
  • Makes the case for ‘world art’ long before the fashion of globalization
  • Charts connections between areas of study in art that long were considered in isolation, such as the Renaissance encounter with the Ottoman Empire,  the influence  of Japanese art on the 19th-century French avant-garde and of African art on early modernism, as well as debates about the relation of ‘contemporary art’ to the past.
  • Written by a well-known art historian and co-editor of the landmark Art in Theory volumes
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations viii

Acknowledgments x

Introduction 1

1 Renaissance and Old World 12

2 Enlightenment and New World 52

3 Modernism and Modern World 100

4 Avant-Garde, Contemporary, and Globalized World 185

5 "World Art History" and "Contemporary Art" 253

Index 292

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Author Information

Paul Wood is Senior Lecturer in Art History at the Open University, England. He has published widely in the field of modern and contemporary art, and is co-editor, with Charles Harrison and Jason Gaiger, of the landmark three-volume collection Art in Theory: An Anthology of Changing Ideas.
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"Western Art and the Wider World is certainly a timely myth-buster in terms of current anxieties and panics about the demise of the West’s supposed cultural and economic place at the centre of things. Wood traces a long history of admiration and indebtedness to the East – in terms of knowledge, art, commerce and governance. He also asserts that the history of western ‘cultural dominance’ has been relatively short – less than 200 years in his reckoning. Western Art and the Wider World tells stories of exchange, parity and mutual curiosity between the West and rest." (The Visual Artists’ News Sheet, 1 March 2014)

"A cautious, open-minded attempt to write about the history of Western Art form the Renaissance through the early and late modernist era, as it encountered, and was encountered by, the rest of the world." (Art Review, 1 March 2014)

“This is a truly important book, essential reading for anyone looking for critical insight into how understandings of Western art and its history are being reshaped by the increasingly globalized conditions of artistic culture.” – Alex Potts, University of Michigan, USA

“Any reader wanting to traverse the complex terrain of world art could find no wiser, more judicious or better-written guide than Paul Wood’s Western Art and the Wider World.  His learning in history, philosophy, and contemporary debates is deep but carried lightly.  His voice will reach both novice and professional readers in a most timely contribution.”  –Thomas E. Crow, New York University, USA

“An important and timely intervention in the contested territory of world art. Combining extensive historical research with incisive awareness of contemporary debates, this book both challenges and expands our understanding of Western art within a global context.” –Fionna Barber, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK

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