Money, colour, velocity in the Western Desert
In the anthropology of Central Australian Aboriginal peoples things are positioned as in the service of relatedness, rendering their materiality irrelevant. The major exception to this has been art works. In this recent research I’m interested in the various ways in which Western Desert art works generate money and how the aesthetic and affective content of a work might ask for what it needs.
Where and for whom the work is made and how it is sold are crucial choices that artists can negotiate. The main choices for the first sell on is between government funded cultural centres and private dealers. Each of these groups is antagonistic towards, even demonising of, the other. These different regimes of mediation with the market provide different velocities of return for the artists who may concoct strategies for combining them in attempts to generate continuing income.
I explore briefly what happens to the proceeds of art works and how this offers insights as to what kind of thing money, and art made for the market, might be.
About the Presenter
Diana Young’s research, an ARC Discovery The Desire for Things, is based on research with aboriginal and non-aboriginal people in Central Australia on the art market’s relationship to money and consumption practices.
She lectures in anthropology in the School of Social Science and is also the director of the UQ Anthropology Museum where she has curated 10 exhibitions since 2010 including the current collaborative show Solomon Islands; re-enchantment and the colonial shadow. Forthcoming publications on colour include an edited collection Rematerialzing colour; From Concept to Substance (Sean Kingston UK) and a chapter in the Routledge Handbook of Beauty on colours as palettes in landscapes, architecture and painting.