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Art Is Not What You Think It Is

ISBN: 978-1-4051-9239-2
190 pages
February 2012, Wiley-Blackwell
Art Is Not What You Think It Is (1405192399) cover image


Art Is Not What You Think It Is utilizes original research to present a series of critical incursions into the current state of debate on the idea of art, making manifest what has been largely missing or unsaid in those discussions.

  • Links museology, history, theory, and criticism to the realities of contemporary social conditions and shows how they have structurally functioned in a variety of contexts
  • Deals with divisive and controversial problems such as blasphemy and idolatry, and the problem of artistic truth
  • Addresses relations between European notions about art and artifice and those developed in other and especially indigenous cultural traditions
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Table of Contents

List of Figures vi

Preface: Art Is Not What You Think It Is viii

Acknowledgments xv

Introduction: Art and/as Manifesto 1

First Incursion: Artistry and Authorship 19

Second Incursion: The Dangers of Art and the Trap of the Visual 33

Third Incursion: To See the Frame that Blinds Us 52

Fourth Incursion: Deconstructing the Agencies of Art 74

Fifth Incursion: Intersections of the Local and the Global 94

Sixth Incursion: Into the Breach of Art and Religion 121

Seventh Incursion: The Art of Commodifying Artistry 142

Index 165

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Author Information

Donald Preziosi is Emeritus Professor of Art History and Critical Theory at UCLA, and Former Slade Professor of Fine Art at Oxford. He trained in art history, classics, and linguistics at Harvard, and is the author and co-author of many books including The Art of Art History: A Critical Anthology (2009).

Claire Farago is Professor of Renaissance Art Theory and Criticism at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She is author and co-author of many books on art theory, historiography, and museums, and is an authority on the manuscripts of Leonardo da Vinci. Her numerous publications include Re-Reading Leonardo: The Treatise on Painting across Europe 1550-1900 (2009).
Donald Preziosi and Claire Farago have previously collaborated as co-editors of Grasping the World: The Idea of the Museum (2004).

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“Summing Up: Recommended.  Graduate students and researchers/faculty.”  (Choice, 1 August 2012)

“Preziosi and Farago present us with an invaluable series of provocations aimed at traversing, motivating, and unsettling the discourse of art and its histories. ”
- Jae Emerling, University of North Carolina, Charlotte

Art is Not What You Think is a groundbreaking book that provides a cutting-edge theoretical take on the conundrum of artistic authorship and meaning today.”
- Amelia Jones, McGill University

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