Multiculturalism

DEFINITION

In the visual arts, it is the opposite of ethno-centricity and the assertion that the artistic expression of non-familiar cultures should not be demeaned with descriptions of "primitive" or "naive" because of contextual ignorance of the viewer. Multi-culturalists believe that too much emphasis is placed on European subjects and not enough on Asia, Africa and non-white cultures within the United States. The movement was stimulated by the tremendous migration in the late 1980s of non-whites to America and by the racist responses to these people of many US citizens. Since then, many American museum curators have held exhibitions on the basis of the artists&#39; ethnic, racial and gender identities. In New York in 1990, the most comprehensive American Multicultural exhibit was held, with simultaneous presentations at the Museum of Contemporary Hispanic Art, the New Museum of Contemporary Art and the Studio Museum of Harlem. Conservatives assailed the shows for promoting the lowering of artistic standards of quality. Source: Robert Atkins, "Art Speak"<br><br>A movement to broaden the range of cultures we study, in contrast to the prevailing (traditional ethnocentric and racist) opinion that the great accomplishments have been made almost exclusively by males of European descent (DWMs). Multiculturalism urges people of every culture to assess the qualities of other cultures through the lens of their own.Problems can arise when situating all non-dominant cultures as "other," since this perpetuates the relationship of us-and-them. Another problem is multiculturalism&#39;s tendency to freeze cultures at an immigrant stage of development.Also see African American art, art therapy, chinoiserie, ethnic, ethnocentrism, ethnosphere, feminism and feminist art, humanism, isms and -ism, orientalism, political correctness, xenophilia, and xenophobia.

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