All the books reviews
ADAM Analog - Digital - Ancient - Masters - ()
Based on an excellent photography and cinematography work, the book ADAM was conceived as an homage to the exceptional artistic quality present in all 170 primitive artworks from Africa, Pacific and America selected by Ana & Antonio Casanovas who celebrate with this project a 30 year journey in the Primitive Art world. The artworks have been photographed using analog B&W hand printed images since the authors consider “it enhances the sculptural quality of the artworks and confers a warmer and more sensitive dimension than the digital version”. The book is presented in a brown silk box, which includes a USB containing colour digital films of most of the sculptures from different angles and perspectives as a kind of a virtual exhibition. Described as an Art Opera by art critics, the authors explain that they wanted to give importance not only to the Primitive Art works and the master artists who created them but also to the artists involved in portraying the sculptures for the project.
Africa, Capolavori da un Continente - (Italian)
This monumental reference work and catalog is published in conjunction with the exhibition Africa, Capolavori da un Continente (Africa: Masterpieces of a Continent), on view at the Municipal Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art (GAM) in Turin through February 15, 2004. The book includes valuable contributions by various prestigious authors such as Paul Guillaume, African writers Ahmadou Kourouma and Wole Soyinka, historian and former Congolese minister Théophile Obenga, Jean-Pouis Paudrat, and Anne-Marie Bouttiaux of Tervuren. All of the objects in the exhibition, of which a majority rank among the most important extant masterpieces of African art, are illustrated in the book with photographs by Hugues Dubois. A special section of the book is devoted to twentieth century Western artists (Derain, Modigliani, Picasso, Matisse, Giacometti and Man Ray), and to the influence that African art had on their work. There is little doubt that the book Africa, Capolavori da un Continente will be seen as a major work on the subject of African art, all the more so if the publishers translate this indispensable work into English and French.
Africa, musica y arte. Coleccion Helena Folch - (Spanish)
Established in 1992 to promote awareness of ethno-musicology, the Fundacio La Fontana holds more than 1,800 musical instruments from Africa, Oceania, Asia, and the Americas. Their diversity and aesthetic quality are remarkable. Africa, musica y arte is the first in a series of volumes being prepared to bring this heretofore unpublished collection to light. Inside are 150 superb photographs of the most emblematic pieces from the foundation's African holdings. Each of these illustrations is accompanied by commentaries that place the artifact in its proper geographical and cultural context. Essays by renowned scholars, offering key insights on African musical practices, their social function, and the symbolic dimension of instruments, complete the work.
African Art - (ENGLISH / FRENCH)
This most recent work by Ezio Bassani, who is also responsible for—among many other works—the catalog Africa: Capovalori di un continente, which accompanied the eponymous exhibition in Turin in 2003, and Grand Heritage at the Musee Dapper in 1986, is a sort of resume of the works, books, articles, and lectures that he has written, read, given, or attended in the course of his career as an Africanist. As he humbly states in his introduction, "Nowadays, undertaking an examination of the traditional figural arts of Africa in a global way is a task that would frighten even someone who had handled and seen a great many works over a period of decades." And Bassani is not presenting this book as an exhaustive work on African sculptural creation, but rather is seeking to reveal his own visual universe, placing special emphasis on the most archaic and historically significant artistic forms from the continent. A valuable feature is a long chapter on African ivory. In a straightforward way, Bassani is sharing his long-accumulated knowledge and considered reflections on the historical, formal, symbolic, and functional attributes of African art.
African Art and Silicon Chips: A Life in Art and Science - (ENGLISH)
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Jay Last, fresh from receiving his Ph.D. in physics from MIT, became involved both in participating in the startup of Silicon Valley through the development of silicon integrated circuit chips and in the formation of a substantial collection of African art. This fascinating book discusses the author’s experiences in both of these endeavors over the course of the next fifty years. The African art market underwent marked changes during this period. In the quarter century from the late 1950s to the early 1980s, vast quantities of art objects were being sourced in Africa and brought to Europe and the United States. Eventually the African sources dried up and the market transformed in the 1980s, when less emphasis became placed on the unknown and the different, and more on the provenance of artworks in existing collections. Having been active in the African art market and knowing most of the major dealers of this material throughout this period, the author not only discusses the evolution of the fi eld but also provides biographical information and anecdotes about the various colorful individuals who were involved in it while also relating his experiences in acquiring objects and illustrating some of his major acquisitions. This is a unique and personal view of art collecting about a relatively littledocumented time that undoubtedly will be of interest to anyone in the African art field.
African Art in American Collections - (ENGLISH)
This is the long-awaited second edition of a landmark reference work in the field of African art. The result of a major documentation project that ran a bit out of control, this book features nearly 1,600 objects, each illustrated in black and white, and arranged by culture and region. Can’t figure out what that strange African figure is? Chances are one similar will be illustrated here and identified with a short caption. The value of the book is breadth rather than depth, and it is arguably the most comprehensive survey of African art ever published. No African art library is complete without it, and with the publication of this new edition, the price has just gone down considerably.
African Art in Detail - (ENGLISH)
What is African art? This volume responds to this introductory question by suggesting that ultimately there is no answer to be found, that African art is as broad and diverse a notion as the continent that gave birth to it. Author Chris Spring sets out to explore this thesis, opening with a chapter on contemporary art and the inaccuracies and inadequacies of the term "African art" in classifying artists with multiple identities who cannot be grouped under one simple rubric. African Art in Detail then moves on to discuss the variety of "African art" through richly illustrated chapters on masquerades, textiles, metalworking, sculpture, tools, arms and armor, ceramics, and more. The book is richly illustrated, embellishing Spring's assertion about the need for diversity and respect for identity required in approaching the creations of the African continent.
African Art: A Century at the Brooklyn Muséum - (ENGLISH)
The Brooklyn Museum was one of the first North American institutions to collect and display African objects as art rather than artifacts. African Art opens with an essay on how the museum came to acquire its African art collection, which began largely due to its first curator of ethnology, Stewart Culin. This is followed by an essay on African art and how it connects and interacts with human life, ritual, and culture. The main part of the catalog, however, is devoted to approximately 130 highlights from the museum's more than 6,000-object holdings. Each piece is beautifully photographed, organized by region, and complemented with detailed descriptions of its purpose, origin, and provenance. This is a lovely book that will benefit any library.
African Beaded Art: Power and Adornment - (ENGLISH)
frican Beaded Art explores the changes that occurred in the already ancient African tradition of beaded art, when glass beads were imported to the continent from Europe and India in the sixteenth century. Pemberton offers a historical overview of the old African bead traditions, as well as a discussion of how and to what objects beads were applied. It is a cogent look at the new forms and ideas that became possible with the pivotal introduction of inspiring and desirable foreign materials. This catalogue was published to accompany an eponymous exhibition at Smith College Museum of Art in Northampton, MA, that ran through June 15. Focusing primarily on four cultural regions in Africa––the Yoruba and the Cameroon in West Africa, the Kasai region in Central Africa, and the Cape region in South Africa––the exhibition and catalogue illustrate the widely diverse scope of this art form.
African Beads: Jewels of a Continent - (ENGLISH)
This extensive and richly illustrated volume on African beads provides insight on the variety of the designs, materials, and uses of beads throughout the entire African continent. Organized by material—shell, bone, clay, stone, metal, and more—the book also addresses the importance of regions and countries in which certain materials were more prevalent than in others. African Beads covers all aspects of the continent's bead-making culture in the entirety of its known timeframe, as well as the use of beads as currency and objects of trade; in personal adornment; and as decoration for masks, sculptures, and other items. Photographs by Mark Donato deliver the book's aesthetic impact, sensitively emphasizing the subjects' numerous minute details.