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Creative Expression: Anthropology AndThe ArtsAnthropologists defineartbroadly as all the ideas, forms,techniques, and strategies that human employ to expressthemselves creatively and to communicate their creativityand inspiration to others. Art may include a vast array ofmusic, songs, stories, paintings, plays, design, sculpture,architecture, clothing, food, and games.Art is both created and received. Cooking and building,fashion and oratory, decorating and dressing, sewing andplay all represent media through which artists andaudience communicate.
Creative Expression: Anthropology AndThe ArtsThrough these often dynamic encounters, art takes its shapenot only in creation but also in perception. When thinkinganthropologically about art in its global context, it is helpfulto first consider some of the common but flawedassumptions that Western traditions have developed abouthow to evaluate what is and is not art. In particular, we willexamine how the anthropology of art challengescommonplace notions of :- a distinction between fine art and popular art
Creative Expression: Anthropology AndThe Arts- the existence of a universal art aesthetic- the assumption of qualitative differences between Westernart and so called primitive art.●Fine Art versus Popular ArtArt in Western traditions has often been associated withnotions of “high culture” or “fine art”, especially eliterepresentations of visual and performance art experiencedin formal venues. Paintings and sculptures displayed inmuseums, and art galleries; operas, symphonies andballets performed in recital halls; musicals and plays
Creative Expression: Anthropology AndThe Artsperformed in theaters; fashion shows on runways; and finecuisine prepared in expensive restaurants fit a view offineartas the province of the elite. Such art is often evaluatedand portrayed in contrast topopular art– less refined andless sophisticated creative expression associated with thegeneral population. From an anthropological perspective,however art is not the sole province of elites orprofessional artists. Art is integral to all human life. Assuch, it can be expressed through elaborate performancesin specialized venues as well as through routine activitiesin mundane settings.
Creative Expression: Anthropology AndThe ArtsThe significance of art cannot be underestimated asanthropologists consider the full expression of human life.All creativity expressed through cultural products such assongs, paintings, dance, architecture, clothing, games andfood carries rich deposits of information about culture as asystem of meanings and as a system of power. In fact, thevery distinction between fine art and popular art may havemore to do with political choices and hierarchies of powerthan with an intrinsic character of the art itself. Whodecides for instance what will be performed in an operahouse or displayed in a national museum?
Creative Expression: Anthropology AndThe Arts●Considering Aesthetic across Cultures