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"Heritage and Debt: Art in Globalization"

The winner of the 2021 Robert Motherwell Book Award is Heritage and Debt: Art in Globalization (Harvard University Press) by David Joselit. The award carries a $10,000 prize for the author.

In Heritage and Debt: Art in Globalization, David Joselit argues that the creative use of tradition by artists from around the world serves as a means of combating modern art’s legacy of Eurocentrism. While modernism claimed to live in the future and to have relegated the rest of the world to the past, Joselit shows how global contemporary art shatters this myth by reactivating various forms of heritage in order to propose new and different futures. He analyzes not only how heritage becomes contemporary through the practice of individual artists, but also how a cultural infrastructure of museums and art fairs worldwide has emerged as a means of generating economic value, attracting capital and tourist dollars.


David Joselit is Professor of Art, Film and Visual Studies at Harvard University.