Orientalism redeployed : art as cultural self-critique and self-representation

Bryce, Derek and Carnegie, Elizabeth (2014) Orientalism redeployed : art as cultural self-critique and self-representation. In: 7th International Conference on the Inclusive Museum, 2014-08-11 - 2014-08-14, Autry Centre for the American West.

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This paper looks at special exhibitions and galleries holdings of "Western" Orientalist art of the 19th and early 20th centuries. This was art produced for the "West" in the early stages of its imperialist interest in the Middle East and our project focuses on the conditions under which this art emerged. Taking as our theoretical context the legacy of Edward W. Said’s study, Orientalism, we initially focussed our attention upon nationally legitimated UK museums’ presentation of cultural objects produced in the Middle East to a ‘Western’ audience (see Bryce and Carnegie 2013). Drawing on, for example, recent exhibitions in the UK (Bellini and the East. National Gallery 2006, The Lure of the East: British Orientalist painting. Tate Britain. 2008), and the USA (The Spectacular Art of Jean-Léon Gérôme, Getty) our study now explores the recent reappraisal of this body of art in western galleries as means of self-critique amidst "post 9/11" discourses. We additionally, examine the recent interest in, acquisition of, and display of Orientalist art in Turkish and Middle Eastern collections as a powerful statement of agency and a means to observe the self through the gaze of the Western "other." Our research question is, to what extent are these twin deployments of this problematic genre of art part of a wider, potentially unifying discursive formation.


Bryce, Derek ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9500-7306 and Carnegie, Elizabeth;