PRINT March 1982


Man as Art

Man as Art: New Guinea, photographs by Malcolm Kirk, introduction by Andrew Strathern (New York: The Viking Press (A Studio Book), 1981), 143 pages, 92 illustrations, 62 in color.

SOME YEARS AGO A FRIEND gave me a copy of Self-Decoration in Mount Hagen by Andrew and Marilyn Strathern (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1971). This marvelous bit of anthropology changed my thinking about clothing, sculpture, presentation of the individual in society, and ultimately the importance of decoration—not only in New Guinea but in the world at large. My only disappointment with the Stratherns’ book was its modest albeit informative illustrations. Many admirers of the art of body decoration have been waiting for a book that would do full visual justice to the subject. At first glance, Malcolm Kirk’s Man as Art: New Guinea looked as if it might be that book. Its only coffee-table predecessor was

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