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A Critique of the Natural Artefact: Anthropology, Art & Museology

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Thomas, Nicholas 


The lecture reflected on the constitution of collections, and in particular on collections of indigenous artefacts, proposing that the museum has the capacity to constitute a 'method' that can empower the interpretation of this kind of art.


This is the final version of the article. It first appeared from Victoria University of Wellington.


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Art History Lecture Series 13

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Victoria University of Wellington

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This essay draws on many dialogues with colleagues and friends, but most particularly on the work of two research groups supported by grants from the Economic and Social Research Council (‘Artefacts of encounter’, 2010– 13) and the European Research Council (‘Pacific Presences: Oceanic art and European museums’, 2013–18), especially Julie Adams, Mark Adams, Lucie Carreau, Alison Clark, Alana Jelinek, Maia Nuku and Amiria Salmond. Warmest thanks also to Professor Geoffrey Batchen, for the invitation to present the 2014 Gordon H. Brown lecture.