Saturday, November 08, 2014

Museums Fall 2014

1. BROOKLYN, NY.- Double Take: African Innovations, an experimental installation of selections from the Brooklyn Museum’s renowned African collection, invites new ways of looking at African art. Built around fifteen pairs of objects, the exhibition focuses on artistic themes, solutions, and techniques recurring throughout African history that link seemingly dissimilar works. It will open October 29 in a temporary location while an extensive renovation of the first floor of the Brooklyn Museum is under way. The installation will also include some 150 selections from the Museum’s extensive African collection, one of the oldest and largest in an American art museum, in an open-storage display.
Double Take, the second phase in the Brooklyn Museum’s ongoing expansion of its African collection, continues and builds upon African Innovations, the critically acclaimed historical presentation that closed in late September, by exploring further connections between African artworks.
This installation of nearly forty objects will feature a number of major recent acquisitions. Looking Back Into the Future (2008), a work by internationally recognized Ghanaian artist Owusu-Ankomah, whose paintings depict a spiritual world inhabited by people and symbols, will be paired with an ancient hieroglyph-inscribed shabti of the Nubian king Senkamanisken (r. circa 643–623 B.C.E.) to explore the art of writing as a funda- mental embodiment of human expression in Africa over the course of many centuries. ..More...

2. NEW YORK, NY.- Some 60 jeweled objects from the private collection formed by Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al-Thani will be presented at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in the exhibition Treasures from India: Jewels from the Al-Thani Collection, opening October 28. The presentation will provide a glimpse into the evolving styles of the jeweled arts in India from the Mughal period until the early 20th century, with emphasis on later exchanges with the West. The exhibition will be shown within the Metropolitan Museum’s Islamic art galleries, adjacent to the Museum’s own collection of Mughal-period art.
“It is with great delight that we present to the public this selection of works representing several centuries of tradition and craftsmanship in the jeweled arts—from India’s Mughal workshops to the ateliers of Paris,” Thomas P. Campbell , Director and CEO of the Metropolitan Museum, said when announcing the exhibition.
Sheikh Hamad stated: “The jeweled arts of India have fascinated me from an early age and I have been fortunate to be able to assemble a meaningful collection that spans from the Mughal period to the present day. I am delighted that The Metropolitan Museum of Art will be exhibiting highlights from the collection, making the subject known to a wider audience.”

3. AUSTIN, TX.- One of the most significant exhibitions on European colonization in the United States will open today at the Bullock Texas State History Museum. Beginning Oct. 25, 2014, one of French explorer Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle's ships that sank along the Texas coast more than 300 years ago, is set to be reassembled in the museum's gallery and visitors will see a centuries-old international story of cultural conflict unfold.
"La Belle: The Ship That Changed History," brings together for the first time the 17th-century ship timbers, more than 120 of the 1.6 million artifacts excavated with La Salle's ship, newly edited video footage, and a 4D film that tells this important Texas narrative.
"The exhibition of the shipwreck 'La Belle' is the culmination of nearly 20 years of work by dozens of experts in the fields of archaeology, marine conservation, history, and exhibition design," Bullock Museum Director
Dr. Victoria Ramirez said. "Very few museums in the world have on view such a vast collection of 17th-century artifacts that tell such a compelling and extraordinary story. The Bullock Texas State History Museum is simply honored to present 'La Belle' to the public."
Through an extraordinary feat of archeology and engineering, the "La Belle" shipwreck was excavated by the Texas Historical commission in the mid-1990s. Dr. James Bruseth was the lead archeologist on the project to excavate one of the most important shipwrecks in North America. He has authored books about the discovery and excavation of "La Belle" and La Salle's ill-fated expedition to establish a colony in the late 1600s.
After 330 years under water, the bottom third of the ship and some of its cargo will be on display at the Bullock Museum in Austin, Texas, with Bruseth as curator.
"'La Belle' is one of the most important shipwrecks ever discovered in North America," Bruseth said. "It will be the centerpiece of a spectacular new display in the heart of the Bullock Museum, placing it among the nation’s most innovative history museums. The new exhibition will offer an unprecedented opportunity to actually reorient the way we educate the public about 17-century regional, national, and world history."
The wreck of "La Belle" in Matagorda Bay and collapse of La Salle's Fort St. Louis colony near Victoria, Texas, changed the course of history — not just for Texas, but for America and the world.
"The clash among the French, the Spanish, and the American Indians helped forge the modern foundation of Texas more than three centuries ago," Bruseth said. "Cultural conflict in 17th-century Texas among these groups was a pivotal turning point, not only for the history of the state, but at national and international levels."
Most Texans – indeed most Americans – are unaware that the first European colony in the eastern part of the state was French, not Spanish. The incursion of France into New Spain represented by La Belle and the colony site of Fort St. Louis triggered a wave of settlement by the Spanish that resulted in the rich Hispanic heritage we have today, he said.

4. PARIS (AFP).- A top-level sacking, harsh words from the artist's son, delays and a huge budget overrun -- Paris's Picasso museum reopens its doors on Saturday amid the fallout from a fraught $71-million renovation. Just over five years after it closed for what was intended to be a two-year refurbishment, the museum -- housed in a 17th-century baroque mansion in Paris's historic Marais quarter -- has been extensively modernised and is more than twice its previous size. Costs, however, stand at 22 million euros ($27 million) over budget due to an increase in the scope of the works, a rift has opened up between Picasso's son Claude and the French government and the museum's director of nearly a decade, Anne
Baldassari, no longer has her job. The gallery, which first opened in 1985, boasts one of the world's most extensive collections of Picasso's work with around 5,000 ... More

5. SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- In the shifting sands of Saudi Arabia outside the city of Thaj, archaeologists discovered the tomb of a young royal girl buried nearly 2,000 years ago, uncovering exquisite jewelry, a haunting gold mask and other objects—all made of gold. These funerary treasures are just a few of the surprising discoveries on display in the fascinating exhibition Roads of Arabia : Archaeology and History of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , opening Oct. 24, 2014 through Jan. 18, 2015 at the Asian Art Museum.
The Asian Art Museum will offer West Coast audiences a first look at Roads of Arabia , a traveling exhibition originating from Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in 2012, featuring recent archaeological discoveries that have radically transformed our understanding of Saudi Arabia. The exhibition includes more than 200 objects, revealing the peninsula’s role as a cultural crossroads through trade and pilgrimage over thousands of years.
Highlights of the exhibition include mysterious stone steles, monumental statues and finely forged bronze figures. A set of gilded doors that once graced the entrance to the Ka‘ba, Islam’s holiest sanctuary, is also featured.
“Roads of Arabia offers a rare look at arts and artifacts from Saudi Arabia, with the oldest artifact dating more than a million years old,” said Jay Xu, director of the Asian Art Museum. “This exhibition will alter your perceptions of the Arabian Peninsula’s ancient history by providing a glimpse into its largely unknown past, before the region emerged as the spiritual center of an expanding community especially important to Muslims around the world.”

6. LOS ANGELES - Wall Street Journal - Three clay jaguars, modeled by hand, then fired and painted, stand—eyeing visitors—at the entrance to “Grandes Maestros: Great Masters of Iberoamerican Folk Art” at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Made in 2011 by Juana Gómez Ramírez, of Mexico, they convey the power, the pride and the beauty of Latin America’s largest cat, which roams alone over wide swaths of terrain and is known as a fierce predator.
They also serve as an apt metaphor for this mesmerizing exhibition, which opens on Sunday [Nov. 9]. Encompassing about 1,200 works made of clay, metal, textiles, wood, glass, paper, leather, horn and even amber by some 600 artists from nearly 50 ethnic groups located in more than 260 towns in 22 countries, “Grandes Maestros” is bold, alive with tradition and imagination, and often as dazzling as those native cats.
Every object belongs to Fomento Cultural Banamex, a nonprofit arm of the large Mexican bank owned by Citigroup. More striking, each one was selected by Cándida Fernández de Calderón, Fomento Cultural’s director, as part of a social project. In 1995, in the midst of an economic crisis, she proposed a program to support the foremost Mexican folk artists, those who made “the most gorgeous expressions of folk art and were leaders of their communities,” as she recently told me. The next year, she began to buy their work to exhibit and to publish. She helped them improve their workshops (providing better kilns, for example), train their apprentices and boost their marketing. In 2007, after proving the economic benefits in Mexico, she expanded the program throughout Latin America and to Spain and Portugal.
If I were forced to pick just one highlight, Mexican artist Óscar Soteno Elías’s masterly “Artisan Tree of Ibéroamerica” (2012) would be a strong contender. Commissioned by Ms. Fernández, this molded clay tree of life cleverly incorporates a folk art tradition from every country in the exhibition, some on view elsewhere in the galleries. The tiny bride centrally located in Soteno’s piece, for example, replicates the primly dressed “Bride” (2008), her head wreathed in flowers, by Brazillian Isabel Mendes da Cunha, who started out making utilitarian pots... more

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