Visual Intelligences Research Project

Writings : Art History and Visual Intelligence : Nigel Whiteley:Visual intelligence and the art historian

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Visual intelligence and the art historian
Nigel Whitely
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  • What about Visual Intelligence and the art historian?
  • Should the art historian engage with Visual Intelligence?
  • Should it make her or him think differently?

My answer would be “No, not necessarily”

To suggest that the art historian should work in a particular way and engage with particular questions and issues is too prescriptive, too restrictive a way of working. The  art historian can legitimately completely ignore visual intelligence and still do important, even ground-breaking  art history as we have seen. Most of the art history of the last quarter century has dealt with issues arising from ideas generated by Post-Structuralist thinking – or Post-Modernism in general if you like – ideas relating to signs and their meanings, audiences, power, gender and their relationship to canons. art history has, fundamentally, examined and interrogated the social and cultural values in which an artist operates and which provide the framework of assumptions about what art is and does. With these sort of issues, notions of visual intelligence seem an irrelevance, especially when much recent visual art has downgraded the visual in favour of the conceptual.

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