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Rattling Spears: A History of Indigenous Australian Art Paperback – 15 Aug 2018


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"Mclean's radical hut commonsense approach is to show how indigenous artists responded to and engaged with modernity, beginning with Captain Cook anchoring off the coast in 1770. Mclean treats contemporary indigenous artists not as 'pure, ' to be kept safe from Western culture, but as actively engaged with modernism, and in fact quite successful at making a place for their art in today's world, while operating in both modern and traditional temporal frames. He deploys current critical terminology fluidly, insisting on a transcultural context for the art, while also explaining the 'Dreaming, ' the still-evolving mythopoeic sagas about ancestral beings and spirits that animate indigenous thought. He is clear-eyed about the roles that marketing, ambitious anthropologists, and cannily entrepreneurial indigenous artists played in the late-twentieth-century marketing of this work. The text is illustrated by a spare but well-chosen selection of nicely printed reproductions."--Bookforum

"The best, most comprehensive, accessible, and detailed survey of a complex and beguiling field of study that I have yet come across. It is an outstanding achievement."--Sydney Review of Books

About the Author

Ian McLean is senior research professor of contemporary art at the University of Wollongong and adjunct professor at the University of Western Australia. His previous books include Double Desire: Transculturation and Indigenous Art, How Aborigines Invented the Idea of Contemporary Art, and White Aborigines: Identity Politics in Australian Art.

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