Analysis Of The Trouble With The Term Art By Carolyn Dean

883 Words 4 Pages
It is well known that Western culture and the Western world has endeavored to assert itself over other cultures for many centuries. Beginning with the colonization of groups of people deemed lesser by the standards of white Europeans, who often forced their customs or religion on people they had colonized, Western civilizations continue to push their cultural standards on other parts of the world, especially when it pertains to art. In the essay, “The Trouble with the Term Art”, Carolyn Dean raises questions about the overwhelming western standard of art, and how different cultures have different views of aesthetic beauty.
The central argument of Dean’s essay is that the normal definition of art has been skewed to only include the values of Western society. This in turn excludes much of the values of other cultures. Dean makes the point that the term “art” does not have a universal definition and therefore has differing meanings in different situations. She uses an argument made by Donald Preziosi stating the fact that while all different types of people make distinctions between things artistically, there is no explicit group of things defined as art in every single culture (25). This is a significant argument, because different shared cultural
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The Western world can often wrongly use this definition to assess what is or is not considered valid art with little regard to the intricacies and context of the culture from which it originated. The emphasis on Eurocentric ideals of art on other cultures reflects the lingering influence of colonialism and thoughts of cultural superiority. The meaning and definition of art varies within every culture. The topic of this essay is very integral to the topic of the class as it is a reminder to be aware of the context and culture from which art is created and to be sure to respect the definition of art from many different

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