Reworlding Art History highlights the significance of contemporary Southeast Asian art and artists, and their place in the globalized art world and the internationalizing field of ‘contemporary art’. In the light of the region’s modern art history, the book surveys this relatively under-examined area of contemporary art which first found broad international recognition in the 1990s.
Traced here are significant exhibitions that featured contemporary Southeast Asian art and brought it to regional and international attention. Examined are seminal foundational art histories, and dominant methods and thematic frameworks for engaging with Southeast Asian art. Key artists, exhibitions, collections, scholarship, ideologies, and discourses shaping its developing history are discussed, as are major works by artists associated with Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore.
Far from being peripheral, Southeast Asian art has helped create the very conditions of international contemporary art, compelling us to examine the Euro-American biases of art history. The book stresses local creative contexts and cultural histories of the rich modern and contemporary art of the region and its diaspora, revealing its plurality and diversity. The concept ‘Southeast Asia’ is treated as a crucial entry-point for examining art and artists associated with this unique region and for extending debate on the local/global constitution of contemporary art.
Of central importance is the aesthetic agency of contemporary Southeast Asian art – its invitation to sensory and affective response – and its capacity for dialogue and diverse significations across borders. Also considered is the effect of shifting art-historical frameworks on engagement with this stimulating art.
Richly illustrated and incorporating cross-cultural and interdisciplinary methods, Reworlding Art History is a foundational reference work for those interested in Southeast Asia’s contemporary art, including scholars of art history, Asian studies, curatorship, museology, visual culture, and anthropology, as well as professionals working in art and museum contexts.