Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Tribal Art Around The World Fall 2015

1.VANCOUVER.- On the heels of a successful public presentation of the conceptual design for a new museum building by Herzog & de Meuron, the Vancouver Art Gallery announced the donation of a comprehensive collection of First Nations artworks from the late San Francisco collector George Gund III, dramatically transforming the significance of the Gallery’s current collection of Northwest Coast art. This collection of thirty-seven exceptional objects includes some twenty historical works by Haida, Heiltsuk, Inuit, Kwakwaka’wakw, Nuu-chah-nulth, Nuxalk and Tlingit artists, dating as early as 700AD. It also includes important contemporary works such as poles by Ken Mowatt, Norman Tait, drawings by Bill Reid and, most remarkably, thirteen carved works by Robert Davidson. The addition of Davidson’s works to the objects already in the Gallery’s collection gives the Vancouver Art Gallery the most significant collection of Davidson’s work in a museum. An exhibition featuring the entire bequest is now on view at the Vancouver Art Gallery until January 31, 2016. More Information:

2. LOS ANGELES The skillful technique seen in textiles here is a testament to the spirit of the Pueblo and Navajo people, particularly those whose artistry dates to the turmoil between 1860 and
1880, when change rained down on native lands in the form of railroads, American military and settlers from Eastern states. More Information:

3. OTTAWA.- 335 remarkable examples of Native Canadian and American sculpture, prints, drawings, decorative objects, and textiles, spanning two thousand years of indigenous artistic
expressions across the continent, comprise Walker’s November 18 auction in Ottawa, Canada.Selections range from ancient Bering Strait ivory figures and objects, to historic Alaskan trade ivories, to Northwest Coast works by 19th- and 20th- century masters. They also include superb classic and modern examples from the great artistic flowering of 20th- century Canadian Inuit art, as well as Inuit works from Greenland. Forty percent of the objects on offer are from the noted Albrecht Collection in Scottsdale. Many of these works were included in the Heard Museum’s 2006 touring exhibition “Arctic Spirit: Inuit Art from the Albrecht Collection.” More Information:

4. MILAN On October 28, MUDEC, Milan's new ethnographic museum, will launch the exhibition “A Beautiful Confluence: Anni and Josef Albers and the Latin American World," which will reveal a lesser-known facet of the legendary Modernist couple Josef and Anni Albers: their deep interest in
Latin American culture. More Information:

5. NEW YORK The Metropolitan Museum’s new exhibition “Kongo: Power and Majesty,” explores the remarkable culture of the kingdom that Cão encountered as he sailed up the river, which would
soon be obliterated by a boom in demand for slaves and by the attendant tide of European greed. More Information:

6.CLEVELAND, OH.- Recent acquisitions by the Cleveland Museum of Art include an Ikenga figure, a prime example of Igbo art from Nigeria; The Temple of Edfu: The Door of the Pylon, a sketch of an Egyptian temple by English watercolorist John Frederick Lewis; and Hans Haacke with Sculpture (2005), an assemblage by Rachel Harrison, an artist who has become one of the best-known sculptors of her generation. In addition, Lois Conner, who has photographed regularly throughout China since 1984, donated Zelan Tang, Yuanming Yuan
(Pavilion for Nurturing Orchids, Garden Of Extended Spring) (2004) in memory of Mark Schwartz, a longtime friend and generous supporter of both the artist and the museum’s photography collection and program, who died in 2014. More Information:

7. GATINEAU.- The Canadian Museum of History and the McCord Museum in Montréal announced that the travelling exhibition Haida: Life. Spirit. Art. is presented in Greece, at the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, from October 26, 2015 to April 20, 2016. The exhibition will introduce audiences in Greece to the remarkable sophistication and complexity of the Haida culture of Canada’s
Pacific Northwest Coast. The exhibition features an outstanding collection of historical and contemporary artworks from the Museum of History and the McCord Museum. It also includes contemporary works and images from Haida Gwaii, the island homeland of the Haida people — part of the rich collection of the Haida Gwaii Museum in Skidegate, British Columbia. More Information:

8. NEW YORK A bit of label text in “Heroic Africans: Legendary Leaders, Iconic Sculptures,” a show of mostly precolonial tribal art at the Metropolitan Museum, electrified me. It concerns the vertical striations on the faces of exquisitely refined terra-cotta portrait heads made by Yoruba artists, between six and nine centuries ago, in what is now Nigeria. The slim grooves “have been assumed to depict cicatrization markings,” the label says. But such face-scarring isn’t a known Yoruba custom.
So the lines may represent “shadows cast by the strings of beads that extend from the base of Yoruba crowns.” If so—as I promptly chose to believe—I was seeing something I had never seen before in sculpture: light and shade merged with the surfaces they fall on. Something common since classical Greek and Roman art—naturalistic portraiture, subtly idealized—took on a majestically strange aspect. More Information:

9. NEW YORK Museum shows of African tribal art often suffer from double binds of aesthetics and ethnography: objects that stun but bewilder and educational material that informs but devitalizes. Not
“Kongo: Power and Majesty,” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The exhibits and texts in this show combine to unfold an enthralling, epic tale, which spans more than four centuries, from the late fifteenth to the early twentieth, in the Central African regions that are now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo, and Angola. You will come away with vivid memories of the art—some hundred and fifty wonderful pieces—both for what it is and for what it says. More Information:

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