Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Book Report - Arts of Nigeria

Many of us both in the U.S. and Europe have seen Nigeria, Arts of the Benue Valley, which is a extraordinary exhibition of great works that started at the Fowler Museum in Los Angeles. At the end of  January it also wrapped up at Quai Branly in Paris. Which gives me a perfect opportunity and segue to mentioning a fabulous new book by the curator of African art at Quai Branly - Helene Joubert. In the interest of full disclosure I will admit to being a slight freak when it comes to admiring the great works of art from Nigeria. In my mind it is everything that African should be from the sublime to the powerful or the elegant to the grotesque. And yes it is my eye and my perspective that began with sharing Bob Armstrong's love of Nigeria art to learning from great scholars like Pemberton and Sieber. So permit me to be a total homer when it comes to discussing Arts of Nigeria in French Private Collections ( Five Continents 2012).

The images in this book are spectacular clearly showing how unpredictable the arts from this region can be. There are some excellent essays and interviews in the front that compliment  the works that follow. In the back are thumbnail images of each work with brief comments that are poignant adding to the understanding of the objects themselves.

I celebrate this art book which admittedly stands out dramatically when compared to the mediocre efforts that unfortunately are common and a waste of good trees.

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