POWERMASK - The Power of Masks
"The Antwerp fashion designer Walter Van Beirendonck has been fascinated with the phenomenon of masks since the 1980s and incorporates them into his fashion collections. The Wereldmuseum gave him a free hand to present his vision of the phenomenon of masks. A mask transforms your persona, conjures up a certain atmosphere, and has an immediate impact. POWERMASK delves more deeply into masks and their various facets, such as the historical links between Western art and African masks, the supernatural and rituals surrounding masks, and the uses of masks in fashion and fetishes." On the occasion, Coco Fronsac worked on several photos of the founder of the Wereldmuseum. The exhibition is accompanied by the richly-illustrated book POWERMASK: The Power of Masks.
Threads of Time
"Threads of Time: Tradition and Change in Indigenous American Textiles" explores the breadth and depth of indigenous American fiber arts ranging from weavings in cotton and camelid hair to featherwork and items made from plants. The museum’s permanent collection contains more than 700 examples, of which 149 are on display, many for the first time. Fiber arts were of the highest importance among many of the indigenous cultures of the Americas. The exhibition explores how these beautiful and complex textiles embody the traditional values, materials, and ideas of their respective indigenous cultures while also embracing new techniques, imagery, and types of objects as they changed over time. For example, values embedded in the Quechua language spoken by the Inca and millions of their descendants can be traced in the textiles of the Andes, even as guitars, horses, and other Western elements entered the artistic vocabulary. These new elements make the textiles no less legitimate, but rather emblematic of an evolving culture.
"Rebuilding the Cherokee Nation" at the Gilcrease Museum
Beginning in the late eighteenth century, Cherokee leaders embarked on a strategy to facilitate government-to-government relations by creating institutions comparable to those of the United States. These advancements were bolstered by widespread literacy that came about with the 1821 introduction of the Cherokee writing system, called the Sequoyah Syllabary. Despite these adaptive efforts, in 1830, the U.S. Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, authorizing the forceable removal of 46,000 Native Americans from their ancestral lands. Within the decade, some 15,000 Cherokee were compelled by the military to move from their homelands east of the Mississippi to Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma). The journey west was arduous, with the very old and very young suffering the most. Hundreds died along the way. Despite this seemingly impossible situation, the Cherokee put down new roots and thrived in this new environment. Through art, material culture, and manuscripts, "After Removal: Rebuilding the Cherokee Nation" at the Gilcrease Museum, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, tells the story of resilience in the face of extreme adversity and the rebirth of the Cherokee Nation.
Voyage to the South Seas
The Atelier d’Artistes gallery will honor Oceania for the first time with this show. Titled "Voyages dans les mers du Sud" (Voyages to the South Seas), it will present some sixty diverse works—mainly paintings, drawings, and old photographs—created by European artists who traveled to these faraway and fascinating lands. Prominent among these are Danish painter August Plum, who traveled aboard the Galathea; British Royal Navy Captain Richard Oliver, who created fine watercolors that attest to the natural beauty of New Caledonia and document Vanuatu warriors; and Elizabeth Pulman, who produced superb portraits of Maori chiefs. This show will coincide with Parcours des Mondes, du 12 au 17 septembre.
"Spirits, Gold, and the Shaman" at the Château des ducs de Bretagne
To mark the occasion of 2017 as France- Colombia year, the Museo del Oro of Colombia is presenting a selection of more than 220 gold, gold alloy, ceramic, and stone objects from its marvelous collection of Pre-Hispanic artworks. At the Château des ducs de Bretagne, the exhibition explores the symbols embodied in these objects—some of which are more than 2,500 years old—and explores their ritual uses. In Pre-Hispanic societies, gold was considered to have great spiritual value, and its many properties, such as color, resistance to fire, brilliance, etc., were considered symbolic. Gold objects played a key role in the rites of metamorphosis practiced by chiefs and shamans. "Les Esprits, l’Or et le Chaman— Chefs d’oeuvre du Musée de l’Or de Colombie" explores these indigenous societies’ conception of nature and culture, as well as the role of body painting and plants in the transformations of shamans and their flights to other dimensions of the universe. Questions of identity and transformation are central to the exhibition. The visitor is invited to both discover and view the world in a different way and to question his own way of seeing his identity and that of others when viewed through the shamanic lens.
Jack London in the South Seas
In this exhibition, the Musée d’Arts Africains, Océaniens, Amérindiens (MAAOA) offers you to explore author Jack London’s remarkable adventure at sea. Accompanied by his wife, Charmian, and crew aboard his ketch, the Snark, he traveled throughout the Pacific Islands between 1907 and 1909. The trip served as inspiration for many of his novels and short stories, but he also collected artworks from and took photographs of his various ports of call. The exhibition looks at these widespread archipelagos and the cultural diversity and artistic abilities of the faraway peoples who inhabit them. In addition to objects from London’s personal collection, it presents a fine selection of Oceanic artworks from the MAAOA’s collection and from those of other museums with specialized collections of tribal art. Excerpts from Charmian London’s journals enhance the presentation, as do movie clips by Martin Johnson, the cook and mechanic aboard the Snark, who later became a filmmaker. A documentary on Jack London by Michel Viotte completes the portrait of this exceptional man.
"Matisse in the Studio" at the Royal Academy of Arts
Using the pieces Henri Matisse collected as a starting point, this exhibition focuses on the role they played in his own artworks. Thai Buddhist statues, Bamana figures from Mali, furniture and textiles from North Africa—objects from the four corners of the world were reinvented by the artist innumerable times. Although rarely of high monetary value, they are notable in that they inspired him to go beyond the limits of Western art. Through his African masks and sculptures, Matisse found new ways to depict human faces and forms. Objects from the Islamic world inspired the sensuous curves of his odalisques, and his simplified language of signs is imbued with the precision of Chinese calligraphy and the geometry of African textiles. The exhibition juxtaposes these pieces with the paintings, drawings, and sculptures that in many cases they gave rise to. It can be seen at the Royal Academy of Arts August 5–November 12, 2017. For more info: www.royalacademy.org.uk
Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA
This remarkable art event will run from September 2017 to January 2018 in the Greater Los Angeles Area. It brings together visual art exhibitions at seventy-five (yes, seventy-five) participating museums and university art galleries throughout Southern California. Each explores Latin American and Latino art and identity while raising complex and provocative issues about present-day relations throughout the Americas and the rapidly changing social and cultural fabric of Southern California. While the majority will emphasize modern and contemporary art, there also will be key exhibitions about the ancient world and the pre-modern era. Among these will be an exhibition of luxury objects from the Pre-Columbian Americas at the Getty, a rare showing of ancient Panamanian ceramics at LACMA, Pre-Columbian art and textiles at the Mingei, and an exploration of the interaction between the Chumash Indians and the Spanish missions in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries at UC Santa Barbara. For more info: www.pacificstandardtime.org.