This article delineates and assesses the future potentials of the main fields of the anthropology of art. It addresses six main fields: (1) agency and relationality, (2) art worlds, (3) mimesis and appropriation, (4) materiality, (5) phenomenology, skills and creativity, and (6) practice. In conclusion, the article argues that the anthropology of art has finally overcome what had been an artificial distinction between Western and non-Western art. It now studies the arts globally, and engages directly with the practice of contemporary artists.
Art, Anthropology, Agency, Phenomenology, Appropriation, Practice
In case of a catastrophe, an EXIT-sign mounted in an exhibition at MoMA in 1972 would lead the audience to safety. How can this sign be studied? Is it possible to empirically approach this sign based on different ontology? The geological era of the Anthropocene—in which human presence and impact on the world is now an irreversible matter of fact—will inevitably have vast ontological implications. This article will draw on recent developments within posthumanist tendencies in both anthropology and philosophy, in order to make a theoretical argument for a rethinking of art historical methodology.
The ontological turn
The article’s point of departure is the author’s collaboration with the conceptual fashion label HAiKw/. An exploration of hybrid practices at the intersection of research and artistic practice thus constitutes the empirical backdrop for theoretical reflections on epistemological issues related to forms of interdisciplinarity at the intersection between art and anthropology as well as theory and practice—and ontological issues related to so-called post-artistic practices—towards an anthropological practice framed as (post-) artistic research.
Anthropology, Artistic research, Contemporary art, Design, Post-artistic practices