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An archaeology of the present

The idea that creating contemporary art is like exposing archaeological artefacts is nice but false. Archaeologists are more like curators than artists

By Nancy Hynes   May 2003

Book: Figuring It Out Author: Colin Renfrew Price: Thames & Hudson, ?32

Many scientists like to show that they appreciate art; some may even think of themselves as artists. But they rarely admit that a work of art could have anything to teach them about their field of study. Colin Renfrew is different. In his book “Figuring it Out”, he claims that looking at contemporary art is similar to looking at a newly dug-up artefact, and that the processes that lie behind the creation and interpretation of contemporary art can illuminate the interpretation of ancient artefacts and our understanding of…

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