How Art Can Be Thought: A Handbook for Change


How Art Can Be Thought: A Handbook for Change
October 26, 2018
by Allan deSouza (Author)
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What terms do we use to describe and evaluate art, and how do we judge if art is good, and if it is for the social good? In How Art Can Be Thought Allan deSouza investigates such questions and the popular terminology through which art is discussed, valued, and taught. Adapting art viewing to contemporary demands within a rapidly changing world, deSouza outlines how art functions as politicized culture within a global industry. In addition to offering new pedagogical strategies for MFA programs and the training of artists, he provides an extensive analytical glossary of some of the most common terms used to discuss art while focusing on their current and changing usage. He also shows how these terms may be crafted to new artistic and social practices, particularly in what it means to decolonize the places of display and learning. DeSouza’s work will be invaluable to the casual gallery visitor and the arts professional alike, to all those who regularly look at, think about, and make art—especially art students and faculty, artists, art critics, and curators

“Allan deSouza has done the art world an extraordinary service. . . . As a handbook, How Art Can Be Thought is stunning and successful—deeply informed by critical theory, yet in all aspects oriented toward practical use in the field, so to speak.”
(Taylor Eggan Discursive Impulse 2018-10-01)

“This book is a detailed, thorough, and comprehensive discussion concerning all aspects of contemporary art. de Souza opens a ‘can of worms’ on almost every page, exposing long-held myths about art practice, what art is, and if in fact we can really say anything meaningful about the whole ‘art world’ at all. . . . Very well written and highly readable. It is a must read for all art educators, art students, curators, art critics and faculty at academic institutions where art is still included in the curriculum.”
(Rob Harle Leonardo 2019-02-01)

“Juggling . . . the conceptual and practical . . . is no easy task and deSouza does a good job. . . . One of the strengths of the book is deSouza’s reflection on language — its importance to the project of decolonization and to artistic meaning/expression.
(Alpesh Kantilal Patel Hyperallergic 2019-05-14)

“How Art Can Be Thought compellingly interrogates the art world’s languages of difference and its educational apparatuses in order to understand how they are deployed and how we can turn them on their sides to effect a decolonization both of art and art pedagogy. With Allan deSouza’s incisive strategies for creating change, this book is a must-read for anyone interested in increasing meaningful diversity and inclusion in art and its institutions.”
(Steven Nelson, University of California, Los Angeles)

“A lexicon of contested terms, a new glossary to navigate our artistic practice, is a needed first decolonizing exercise in all art schools. This book will bring you an insightful landscape of what we should address today.”
(Tania Bruguera)