Reflecting on the now, Melissa Laing

Towards a History of the Contemporary: Gordon H Brown Lecture 16
Christina Barton
Art History, School of Art History, Classics and Religious Studies, Victoria University of Wellington, $15.00,
ISBN 9771176588005

For the last 16 years, the art history department of Victoria University of Wellington has presented the annual Gordon H Brown Lecture. In the tradition of the discipline, the many eminent scholars of New Zealand art history have looked backwards at what artists have created and why this is historically significant. In some cases, this historicising has been used to reflect on the now – both art as it is practised at this moment, and society as we are shaped by it in the present. Christina Barton’s lecture “Towards a History of the Contemporary” reaches towards this end – an understanding of the contemporary as a cultural state with a specific historical context and trajectory.

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