Monuments, Objects, Histories: Institutions of Art in Colonial and Post-Colonial India by Tapati Guha-Thakurta

Monuments, Objects, Histories: Institutions of Art in Colonial and Post-Colonial India

byTapati Guha-Thakurta

Kobo ebook | July 6, 2004

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Art history as it is largely practiced in Asia as well as in the West is a western invention. In India, works of art-sculptures, monuments, paintings-were first viewed under colonial rule as archaeological antiquities, later as architectural relics, and by the mid-20th century as works of art within an elaborate art-historical classification. Tied to these views were narratives in which the works figured, respectively, as sources from which to recover India's history, markers of a lost, antique civilization, and symbols of a nation's unique aesthetic, reflecting the progression from colonialism to nationalism. The nationalist canon continues to dominate the image of Indian art in India and abroad, and yet its uncritical acceptance of the discipline's western orthodoxies remains unquestioned, the original motives and means of creation unexplored. The book examines the role of art and art history from both an insider and outsider point of view, always revealing how the demands of nationalism have shaped the concept and meaning of art in India. The author shows how western custodianship of Indian "antiquities" structured a historical interpretation of art; how indigenous Bengali scholarship in the late 19th and early 20th centuries attempted to bring Indian art into the nationalist sphere; how the importance of art as a representation of national culture crystallized in the period after Independence; and how cultural and religious clashes in modern India have resulted in conflicting "histories" and interpretations of Indian art. In particular, the author uses the depiction of Hindu goddesses to elicit conflicting scenarios of condemnation and celebration, both of which have at their core the threat and lure of the female form, which has been constructed and narrativized in art history. -- Vidya Dehejia, Columbia University

Tapati Guha-Thakurta is professor in history at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, The author of The Making of a New 'Indian' Art: Artists, Aesthetics, and Nationalism in Bengal, she is a specialist on the art and cultural history of modern and contemporary India.
Title:Monuments, Objects, Histories: Institutions of Art in Colonial and Post-Colonial IndiaFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:July 6, 2004Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231503512

ISBN - 13:9780231503518

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Table of Contents

The Colonial Past
1. The Empire and its Antiquities: Two pioneers and their scholarly fields
2.The Museum in the Colony: Conserving, collecting, classifying
Regional Frames
3. Interlocuting Texts and Monuments: The coming of age of the 'native' scholar
4. Between the Nation and the Region: The locations of a Bengali archaeologist
5. Wresting the Nation's Prerogative: Art history and nationalism in Bengal
National Claims
6. The Demands of Independence: From a national exhibition to a national museum
7. 'For the Greater Glory of Indian Art': Travels and travails of a Yakshi
The Embattled Present
9. Archaeology and the Monument: On two contentious sites of faith and history
8. Art History and the Nude: On art, obscenity and sexuality in contemporary India

Editorial Reviews

Guha-Thakurta provides the most penetrating and conceptual frame for the institutional history of Indian art.