Rattling Spears: A History of Indigenous Australian Art
Ian McLean


Paperback | Aug 2018 | REAKTION BOOKS | 9781780239873 | 304pp | 250x190mm | Stocked item (plenty) | GEN | AUD$39.99, NZD$47.99


Large, bold and colourful, Indigenous Australian art has made an indelible impression on the contemporary imagination. But it is controversial, dividing the stakeholders from those who smell a scam. Whether the artists are victims or victors, there is no denying their impact in the media and on the art world and collectors worldwide. How did Australian art become the most successful indigenous form in the world? How did its artists escape the ethnographic and souvenir markets to become players in an art world to which they had previously been denied access? Finely illustrated, and now available in paperback, this full historical account makes you question everything you were taught about contemporary art.

‘Provides what instructors of indigenous Australian art have long been waiting for: a textbook on the genre. Though one can find a multitude of museum and exhibition catalogues and books on the art of specific regions of Australia, this is the first book to provide comprehensive coverage of the unfolding of indigenous art across time and place, across styles and borders, and across cultures . . . Clearly organized and well written, the content is theoretical and factual, and McLean supports the discussion with excellent illustrations. One of the most important publications on the topic to date. Highly recommended.’ — Choice

'Rattling Spears: A History of Indigenous Australian Art is the first comprehensive art historical account of this fascinating topic. It tells a clear and compelling story of the complex development of indigenous art in Australia, from the first encounters between indigenous and European explorers in the later eighteenth century right up to the present, as this ‘contact art’ manifests itself as one of the major movements within contemporary world art.' —Terry Smith, University of Pittsburgh