Primitivism with Serena Keshavjee

  • Thursday, January 19, 2017
  • 6:30pm – 8:00pm
  • Duke of Kent Legion, 227 McDermot Avenue

Primitive is a term we use in art history to help understand how avant-garde artists perceived non-European art during the19th and 20th centuries. Antliff and Leighton investigate this attitude in terms of race, class, gender and even time. They explore the binary assumptions in the West that encouraged the primitivizing attitudes that characterize the avant-garde. Besides the Antliff and Leighton definition, I have also included a very short article by Albert Aurier on Vincent van Gogh. The application of the primitive is surprisingly applied to van Gogh in an effort to promote his art in the 1890s. As you read the Antliff and Leighton definitiion you might want to think about these questions:

  • How do Antliff and Leighton explain the a-historical attitude that supports primitivism?
  • What are the binaries that Antliff and Leighton lay out through out the article. Give examples of a few of them?
  • Pick a sentence that best defines the primitive for you.

Readings (PDF):
The Isolated Ones: Vincent Van Gogh by Albert Aurier
Primitive by Mark Antliff and Patricia Leighten

Free, everyone welcome!

  • Serena Keshavjee teaches modern art and architecture at the University of Winnipeg in Canada. Her research focuses on the confluence of art and science in fin de siècle France. Keshavjee recently published her second anthology Picturing Evolution and Extinction (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2015), co-edited with Fae Brauer.