Painters in Hanoi: An Ethnography of Vietnamese Art
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192pp. July 2009
Painters in Hanoi: An Ethnography of Vietnamese Art
Author: Taylor, Nora Annesley;
Painting has played a significant role in modern Vietnam. Postage stamps, billboards, and annual national exhibitions attest to its fundamental place in a country where painters may be hailed as national heroes and include among their number fervent nationalists, propagandists, even dissidents. As Vietnamese painting has gained prominence in the contemporary transnational art circuits of Southeast Asia, many artists have become millionaires, yet Vietnamese painting is generally overlooked in art history surveys of the region. Nora Taylor sets out here to change that. Painters in Hanoi engages with twentieth-century Vietnam through its artists and their works, providing a new angle on a country most often portrayed through the lens of war and politics.

Drawing on interviews with artists, cultural officers, curators, art critics, and others in Hanoi, Taylor surveys the impact artists have had on intellectual life in Vietnam. The book shows them within their own complex community, one fraught with tensions, politicking, and favoritism, yet also a sense of belonging. It describes their education, the role of the government in the arts, the rise and fall of individual artists, their influence as active players in the politics of place and gender, the audience for their work, and how tourism and the international art market have influenced it.

40 illus., 38 in color

Not for sale in Asia

"Painters in Hanoi adds important perspectives to the growing body of literature on contemporary Southeast Asian art, as it also illuminates the highly specific political, economic, and social conditions that shape but do not determine that art. Taylor’s deeply satisfying work further erodes unitary notions of an artistic modernity and the authority of Euro-American paradigms of art history and art making to explain art production throughout the world. She convincingly demonstrates that artistic identity never remains stable but is always asserted, tested, defined, and redefined in local and now global social worlds." —Journal of Asian Studies (64:3, August 2005)
Author: Taylor, Nora Annesley;
Nora Annesley Taylor is Alsdorf Chair of South and Southeast Asian Art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Read the introduction (PDF).



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