Toward a Geography of Art

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9780226133126: Toward a Geography of Art

Art history traditionally classifies works of art by country as well as period, but often political borders and cultural boundaries are highly complex and fluid. Questions of identity, policy, and exchange make it difficult to determine the "place" of art, and often the art itself results from these conflicts of geography and culture. Addressing an important approach to art history, Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann's book offers essays that focus on the intricacies of accounting for the geographical dimension of art history during the early modern period in Europe, Latin America, and Asia.

Toward a Geography of Art presents a historical overview of these complexities, debates contemporary concerns, and completes its exploration with a diverse collection of case studies. Employing the author's expertise in a variety of fields, the book delves into critical issues such as transculturation of indigenous traditions, mestizaje, the artistic metropolis, artistic diffusion, transfer, circulation, subversion, and center and periphery. What results is a foundational study that establishes the geography of art as a subject and forces us to reconsider assumptions about the place of art that underlie the longstanding narratives of art history.

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About the Author:

Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann is a professor in the Department of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University. Among his many books are Court, Cloister, and City and The School of Prague, both published by the University of Chicago Press.


"Intellectually stimulating."

(Michael Hall Apollo 2004-05-01)

"Toward a Geography of Art is an timely, erudite, and intensely stimulating book, which is sure to have a considerable impact on the study of art history; it will be widely read."

(Paul Barolsky, University of Virginia)

"Kaufmann's book, like Corbusier's [Vers une architecture], reveals possible steps along pathways whose pursuit may transform future ways of seeing. . . . Kaufmann's consideration of center and periphery, of transformation through diffusion, and, especially, of the historiography of the concept of Kunstgeographie reveal tremendous historical and geographic breadth. Toward a Geography of Art merits the attention of current and future generations of scholars."

(James Housefield Geographical Reviews)

"Kaufmann shows how the previous debates on geography of art can still be accurate and fertile today. . . . Toward a Geography of Art should enliven interest in a field of study that has been commonly overlooked in North American institutions." (Yves Laberge Journal of Cultural Geography)

"Kaufmann has written a definitive work on the geography of art, intending to heighten interest in this approach among art historians. . . . It is a book that can transform attitudes." (Edmunds V. Bunkse Annals of the Association of American Geographers)

"An enlightening study of the consequences that arise in associating art with specific location. . . . Toward a Geography of Art impressively exposes the advantages and pitfalls to thinking about art in terms of place, still one of our preeminent categories for classifying cultural products." (Ethan Matt Kavaler CAA Reviews)

"Essential reading for anyone interested in the increasingly important topics of geography and the spatial aspects of art." (Ladislav Kesner Umeni)

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