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ItemFrederick Antal and the Marxist challenge to art historyBerryman, J (SAGE Publications, 2021)First published in 1948, Frederick Antal’s Florentine Painting and Its Social Background was an important milestone in anglophone art history. Based on European examples, including Max Dvořák, it sought to understand art history’s relationship to social and intellectual history. When Antal, a Hungarian émigré, arrived in Britain in 1933, he encountered an inward-looking discipline preoccupied with formalism and connoisseurship; or, as he phrased it, art historians of ‘the older persuasion’ ignorant of ‘the fruitful achievements of modern historical research’. Despite its considerable scholarship and erudition, Antal’s book was not warmly received, largely because he had used historical materialism to understand the production of art and the development of styles. Antal’s class-based account of the social position of the artist and the role of the patron in determining the emergence of early Renaissance styles was especially controversial. However, although Marxist analysis was used to challenge the assumptions of Anglo art history, it was not Antal’s intention to weaken art history’s disciplinary autonomy. With historical materialism, he sought to place art history on a firmer historical footing. Most importantly, this approach was compatible with the discipline’s Central European tradition, where art-historical scholarship was framed by questions of method and based on broad historical research. Without defending its more deterministic features, this article supports a re-evaluation of Antal’s book, as an important forerunner of interdisciplinary art scholarship. It considers why Antal’s legacy has not endured, despite the ‘social history of art’ enjoying widespread acceptance in English-speaking art history in later decades.
ItemHuman remains as documents: implications for repatriationBerryman, J (Emerald, 2019)Purpose: The purpose of this paper is twofold. Firstly, to investigate the documentality of human remains in museum and research collections. Secondly, to provide a rationale for a processual model of documentation, which can account for their repatriation and eventual burial. Design/methodology/approach: This paper uses a multidisciplinary approach to examine the repatriation issue. It considers an ethical argument developed to support claims for repatriation: the nominal identification of a body as a universal criterion for its burial. Based on Igor Kopytoff’s processual model of commoditisation, it looks to cultural anthropology to help explain how objects can move between a document and non-document state. Findings: Human remains can be understood as examples of information-as-thing. However, while document theory can readily account for the expanding realm of documentation, it cannot adequately accommodate instances where documentality is revoked, and when something ceases to be a document. When a human biological specimen is returned, the process that made it serve as a document is effectively reversed. When remains are interred, they revert to their primary standing, as people. The process of becoming a document is therefore not unidirectional, and document status not permanent. Research limitations/implications: The implications of a processual model of documentation are discussed. Such a model must be able to account for things as they move into and out of the document state, and where the characteristics of documentality change through time. Originality/value: This paper explores problematic material not usually discussed in relation to document theory. The repatriation movement poses a challenge to a discourse predicated on documentation as a progressively expanding field.
ItemA comparison of the German and Russian literary intelligentsia in Arnold Hauser’s Social History of ArtBerryman, J (Springer Nature B.V., 2019-06)To date, critical engagement with Arnold Hauser’s sociology of art has been confined to the field of art history. This perspective has ignored Hauser’s interest in literary history, which I argue is essential to his project. Hauser’s dialectical model, composed of conflicting realist and formalist tendencies, extends to the literary sphere. In The Social History of Art, these two traditions are epitomised by the Russian social novel and German idealism. Anti-enlightenment tendencies in German intellectual culture provide Hauser with evidence of idealism’s propensity for escapism and reaction. Conversely, he extols the Russian social novel as the naturalistic art form par excellence. Because the intelligentsia is central to Hauser’s understanding of the formation of literary culture, this paper provides an outline of his sociology of intellectuals. Through a comparison of the German and Russian literary intelligentsia, this paper shows that Hauser’s analysis of literature is often more complex than his sociological interpretations of the visual arts.
ItemArt as document: on conceptual art and documentationBerryman, J (EMERALD GROUP PUBLISHING LTD, 2018-01-01)Purpose The purpose of this paper is to bring the work of Seth Siegelaub (1941–2013) to the attention of document studies. Siegelaub was a pioneer of the conceptual art movement in New York in the 1960s, active as an Art Dealer, Curator and Publisher. He is remembered by art history for his exhibition catalogues, which provided a material base for intangible works of art. Design/methodology/approach This paper uses a comparative approach to examine the documents of conceptual art, especially the exhibition catalogues produced by Siegelaub between 1968 and 1972. Drawing on literature from document theory and art history and criticism, it examines several of Siegelaub’s key exhibition catalogues and books. Findings Siegelaub’s theories of information have much in common with the documentalist tradition. Siegelaub’s work is important, not just for its potential to contribute to the literature of document theory. It also provides a point of dialogue between art history and information studies. Originality/value To date, the common ground between art and documentation has been explored almost exclusively from the perspective of art history. This paper is among the first to examine conceptual art from the perspective of document theory. It demonstrates potential for cross-disciplinary collaboration.
ItemThe young Menzies: the student and legal notebooks of Robert MenziesStone, C ; Berryman, J (University of Melbourne, 2016)