Art Terms

Aesthetics. The philosophy or scholarly study of beauty.

Appropriation. In art, the incorporation of borrowed elements (e.g. from pop culture or art history) into a new work; quoting another artist's work in a new art work. Cultural appropriation or misappropriation is a negative term for the borrowing of one's culture's expression by another culture, especially if the expression is not understood or stripped of its cultural context.

Conceptual Art. Visual art in which the concept or idea is more important than executive of the work or its the aesthetics, techniques, or materials. The work is preplanned.

Contemporary Art. Art produced since World War II. Example: Shinnecock people make wampum in the 21st century, so that is contemporary art.

Cultural Patrimony. An artifact or object which has a lasting historical, traditional, or cultural significance to a tribe or cultural group, as opposed to an object belonging to a single individual. The ownership of such an object by the tribe or cultural group is considered inalienable.

Deconstruction. The act of breaking down a concept, text, or entity to its most basic element to understand the underlining, unspoken assumptions or frames upon which it is founded. This analytical approach to criticism was pioneered by Jacques Derrida.

Intellectual Property. Knowledge, creative ideas, or any expression of the human mind, such as inventions, medicinal formulae, designs, and works of art, which might have commercial value and can be protected by laws.

Modern Art. Art from the Modern Era (approximately 1860s—1960s), influenced by changes in Western society, "art for art's sake," an ideal of universal expression, and originality.

NAGPRA (Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act). A US federal law, passed in 1990, that requires federal agencies and institutions receiving federal funds to share their inventories with tribes and repatriate human remains to lineal descendants, as well as funerary items, sacred objects, and other items of cultural patrimony.

Postmodern Art. Arts, including architecture and literary arts, after the Modern Era, which rejects a "global cultural narrative."  Arts can reflect pluralistic viewpoints and often feature appropriation, or reuse, of earlier art forms and popular culture. Discontinuity is common, reflecting post-modern society.

Repatriation. In regards to art or cultural items, physically returning these items to the tribe or cultural group that created them or the lineal descendants of that group.

This list will be fleshed out and developed over time.