Blurring the Boundaries: Applying Gender Studies and Material Culture Studies to "Fine Art," Decorative Art, and Craft

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Title: Blurring the Boundaries: Applying Gender Studies and Material Culture Studies to "Fine Art," Decorative Art, and Craft
Author: Schaup, Lisa A.
Abstract: The decorative arts and crafts have long been relegated to second-class status in art museums and art history education due to the perception within the ‘high’ or fine art community of museum administrators, art academics, connoisseurs, and audiences of these forms as “feminine.” Recently, however, progressive shifts have occurred in attitudes. Women are playing an increasingly larger role in the arts and culture sector; thus they may have a major impact on the philosophical shift which is blurring the boundaries between art and craft. However, there are still considerable biases within the artistic sector against decorative art and craft. Material culture studies and gender studies offer lines of inquiry that redirect the ways objects are interpreted and valued. By reviewing and analyzing literature on material culture and gender in the arts from the 1970s to the present, this qualitative historical inquiry illuminates issues regarding the way women and some men in the decorative art and craft sectors are breaking cultural barriers. This research project suggests the ways arts professionals can continue to cross cultural barriers and change perceptions about art and craft through the use of gender and material cultural studies.
Description: 132 p. Examining committee chair: Dr. Douglas Blandy
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1794/1953
Date: 2005


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