Anthony Shelton

  • Mexican and Andean visual culture, particularly the relationship between Indo-American and Hispanic-American creative expressions. The influence of evangelisation and politics on the visual culture of Latin America from the colonial period to the present. The relationship between indigenous visual and performative arts and social structure and cosmology.


  • Critical Museology. The imitation and appropriation of nature from the early modern period through painting and the Wunderkammer. The incorporation of pre-Columbian art into western collections, 20th century European and American art and non-western art, the non-western art market, museums and the construction of national identity, the history of collections, and museums and post-colonial theory.


  • The cultural, historiographical and political contexts underlying the development of “folk art” in Portugal. Folk art and popular religion. The reconstruction of Portuguese national identity under the Salazar dictatorship.

Prof. Anthony Shelton has been the Director of the Museum of Anthropology (MOA) at the University of British Columbia since August 1, 2004. An anthropologist, administrator, curator and teacher originally from Britain, Prof. Shelton is a leader in museology, cultural criticism, and the anthropology of art and aesthetics. Dr. Shelton has 24 years of teaching, curatorial, and management experience. He has held posts at the British Museum Royal Pavilion Art Gallery and Museum, the Horniman Museum, London and at the University of Sussex, University College London and the University of Coimbra, Portugal. Of the 13 exhibitions Dr. Shelton has curated or co-curated, four of the more innovative include Luminescence: The Silver of Peru (MOA 2012) African Worlds (Horniman 1999), Fetishism (Brighton, Nottingham, Norwich 1995), and Exotics: North American Indian Portraits of Europeans (Brighton 1991) – all of which used strong visual imagery to question notions of material culture and encourage discussion about the interplay of image, language, and meaning. He is currently curating a new exhibition Heaven, Hell and Somewhere In Between (MOA 2015).

Prof. Shelton has published extensively in the areas of visual culture, critical museology, history of collecting and various aspects of Mexican cultural history. His works include Art, Anthropology, and Aesthetics (with J. Coote eds., 1992); Museums and Changing Perspectives of Culture (1995); Fetishism: Visualizing Power and Desire (1995); Collectors: Individuals and Institutions (2001); Collectors: Expressions of Self and Others (2001); and Luminescence: The Silver of Peru (2012)

In Press:

  • ‘Mexicanizing Surrealism: Remembering    Mexico.’  In N. Levell (ed.), The Marvelous Real: Mexican Art 1926 – 2011. Vancouver, UBC Museum of Anthropology.
  • ‘Critical Museology. A Manifesto. In  Museums Worlds.’ Vol. 1, No 1.


  • 2013   Nomadic Aesthetics and the Importance of Place. In F. Deftari and J. Baird (eds.), Safar Voyage: Contemporary Works by Arab, Iranian, and Turkish Artists. Vancouver, D&M Publishing: 2-7.
  • 2012   Interview by James Blake Wiener. A Dazzling Display of Peruvian Silver. Ancient History Encyclopedia. December 4.
  • 2012   Luminescence: the silver of Peru. Anthony Shelton edited. Patronato Plata del Peru.
  • 2012   The Divine Exchange. Silver in Colonial and Republican Peru. In Luminescence: the silver of Peru, Anthony Shelton edited. Patronato Plata del Peru: 53 – 70.
  • 2012   Luminescence. Silver and World-Views in the Andes. 1400-2000. In Luminescence: the silver of Peru, Anthony Shelton edited. Patronato Plata del Peru: 73 – 102.
  • 2011   From Anthropology to Critical Museology and Vice Versa. In Museo y Territorio, no. 4: 30 – 41.
  • 2011   Multiplex Babel. In Museum X. Zur Neuvermessung einer mehrdimensionalen Raumes. Berlin: Panama, 201: 143 – 153.
  • 2011   42, Rue Fontaine.  In D. Ades and J. Penner (eds.), The Colour of My Dreams: The Surrealist Revolution In Art. Vancouver, D&M Publishing: 211-217.
  • 2010   From Theory to Practice: Redrawing Museumscapes.  From Towards a Newer Silkroad: ACC International Workshop Book for Developing Exhibition Contents, G Yong Lee, S Yeon Gim, E Jung Park, S Woo Nam (eds.), Asian Culture complex, International workshop for MFEH 2010.