Read more about Where Does Art Come From?

Where Does Art Come From?

(2 reviews)

Leah McCurdy, Arlington, Texas

Copyright Year: 2022

ISBN 13: 9781648160042

Publisher: Mavs Open Press

Language: English

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Reviewed by Nancy Pettigrew, Associate Instructor, Tidewater Community College on 12/22/22

Made specifically for a global art history course, this resource is different from traditional art history textbooks. Unlike conventional surveys of global art, it is organized thematically rather than chronologically or geographically. The... read more

Reviewed by Cate Simmons, Instructor, Huntington University on 12/15/22

As shared before, the focus of the book covers subjects within the scope of particular cultures as needed by the course it was designed for. I would say it was mostly appropriate. I couldn’t seem to find a glossary or index. Some information... read more

Table of Contents

  • About the Publisher
  • Accessibility Statement
  • About This Project
  • Acknowledgments
  • How to Read this Book & Land Acknowledgment
  • 1. Where Does Art Come From? An Introduction
  • 2. Where Are We Going?
  • 3. Who Am I?
  • 4. What Is Divine?
  • 5. What Is Beautiful? 
  • 6. What Is Important to Us?
  • 7. Will You Tell a Story?
  • 8. Who Came Before Us?
  • 9. Where Do Babies Come From?
  • 10. What Happens When We Die?
  • 11. Why Does Size Matter?
  • 12. What Will I Get Out of It?
  • 13. Why Do They Have More Than Us?
  • 14. Why Do I Have to Do What You Say?
  • 15. Why Do People Take What Doesn't Belong to Them?
  • 16. Can We Live Together?
  • 17. Neheb is Dead by Emery Martinez-Blas
  • 18. We will Never Be Perfect and That's Okay by Celeste Smith
  • 19. The Post-Colonial Igbo Identity by Chinamerem Ahuchaogu
  • Image Credits
  • Accessibility Rubric
  • Timelapses for Transformational Sketches 
  • Errata and Versioning History
  • Mental Maps of Art History

Ancillary Material

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  • About the Book

    Contributors to this open textbook offer relatable descriptions, details, and contexts of artworks from around the world, which have often been relegated to the peripheries of art and social history. Art traditions from Africa, Oceania, South and Southeast Asia, Islamicate regions, East Asia, and the indigenous Americas (before colonization) are prioritized to challenge the long-held view that “real art” only comes from the West. Introductory discussions of the history of art history and geographic conventions set the stage for considering the larger question, “where does art come from,” and other questions such as, “why haven’t I heard much about art from Africa, Oceania, etc.?” This book takes a pluralistic approach, forefronting diversity and interconnectedness. Scholars and students collaborated to produce this book. Student contributions will continue to improve the text and interactivity as it evolves. A scavenger hunt of student-made “easter eggs” builds a thread of engagement and humor throughout the book. Make sure to find them all! 

    About the Contributors


    Dr. Leah McCurdy (she/her) is an anthropological archaeologist and art historian focused on global visual traditions. Her scholarship focuses on ancient Maya architectural and construction histories while her expertise via graduate education and professional experience spans visual traditions across the ancient Americas, Africa, Islamic lands, South Asia, East Asia, Oceania, as well as Egypt and Western Asia. McCurdy has been teaching in higher education for 10 years, covering art history, anthropology, and archaeology. McCurdy develops courses with an applied focus, promoting awareness about cultural traditions, heritage, pluralism, and global citizenship. In all courses, she seeks to increase understanding about diverse art historical traditions while enhancing critical thinking and pluralistic perspectives on the world. McCurdy has been teaching ART 1317 and upper-level art history courses at UTA since 2017.

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