Publication Details

McLean, I. A. "Contemporaneous Traditions: The World in Indigenous Art/Indigenous Art in the World." Humanities Research 19 .2 (2013): 47-60.

Link to publisher version (URL)

Humanities Research - ANU


In the 1980s postmodernism’s retro culture was widely diagnosed as the endgame of modernism. Some suggested that a bigger endgame was in play. Hal Foster glimpsed the end of a ruling civilisation: ‘a moment when the West, its limit apparently broached by an all but global capital, has begun to recycle its own historical episodes’.2 By the end of the century the West’s cultural hegemony did indeed seem over. From about 1990 global capital began delivering a completely deterritorialised contemporary art practice. Even Indigenous art, previously considered a primitive artifact of premodern times, was claimed (by a few) for contemporary art.3 This is one reason why Terry Smith believes that ‘Modernism’ and what he names ‘Contemporary Art’ are ‘different in kind’.4 Yet one thing did not change. Deterritorialised or not, modern, anti-modern, postmodern or contemporary, it is all the culture of capitalism.