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The Sorcerer's Burden: Contemporary Art and the Anthropological Turn

The Sorcerer's Burden: Contemporary Art and the Anthropological Turn

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Texts by Heather Pesanti, Robert Storr, Julia V. Hendrickson
Interview with David Odo

This full-color, 272-page expanded catalogue accompanies The Contemporary Austin’s 2019 exhibition THE SORCERER’S BURDEN: Contemporary Art and the Anthropological Turn

Based on observations in the art world, as well as curator Heather Pesanti’s own academic background in cultural anthropology, this group exhibition and book steers away from scientific observations about cultures and the work of artists already well associated with this terrain, instead offering a fresh perspective through artwork that is experimental, exploratory, and reflective of the present day.

Sourcing its title from a literary work of “ethnofiction”—the 2016 novel The Sorcerer’s Burden: The Ethnographic Saga of a Global Family by American cultural anthropologist Paul Stoller—the exhibition features works that are alternately imaginative, humorous, satirical, dark, melancholy, playful, enchanting, and mischievous. 

Representing a wide range of media including painting, sculpture, photography, video, and performance, the artworks in The Sorcerer’s Burden share a commonality not only in their allusions to elements of anthropology, but in their exploration of the interplay between fact and fiction, ultimately questioning whether any field, media, or genre might propose to convey “truth.”

Hardcover / 9 x 12.5 inches
100 images / 272 Pages
ISBN: 9781942185604

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