Good as gold
In the cities of the West African nation of Senegal, stylish women have often used jewelry as part of an overall strategy of exhibiting their elegance and prestige. Rooted in the Wolof concept of sanse (dressing up, looking and feeling good), a new long-term exhibition, Good as Gold:Fashioning Senegalese Women, opening October 24, 2018, examines the production, display, and circulation of gold in Senegal. It explores golden adornment as part of a larger dialogic constellation of identity, nationhood, politics, wealth, and individual taste that is largely driven by women. It also celebrates a significant gift of gold jewelry to the National Museum of African Art’s collection. It is guest curated by Amanda M. Maples, curator of African Art at the North Carolina Museum of Art, and its opening will be followed by a full-length publication in spring 2019.
In the MET AOA galleries, Atea: Nature and Divinity in Polynesia will open November 19, 2018. Atea is a Polynesian cosmological term that refers to the moment when it was believed that light first sparked forth, resulting in the birth of the first generation of gods. This exhibition will celebrate the creative ingenuity of Polynesian artists who drew from the natural world to give material expression to their understanding of the divine. Featuring objects from American collections and the Met’s own holdings, the exhibition will showcase some thirty artworks—figural sculpture, painted barkcloth, rare featherwork, and more—dating from the late eighteenth to the nineteenth centuries. The presentation will provide an opportunity to understand a core principle of Pacific art: The divine is not abstract but very much alive in nature. It will be the subject of a Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin.
Heroes and Spirits in Cannes
CANNES—In collaboration with the city of Cannes, the Musée de la Castre is presenting Héros et esprits de Nouvelle-Guinée (Heroes and Spirits of New Guinea), an exhibition that features some forty photographs taken by insatiable adventuress Wylda Bayrón. Her series of portraits shows people from New Guinea wearing their elaborate costumes and extraordinary ornaments. A selection of traditional Melanesian objects is also on hand, complementing and enhancing the photos and providing context for the lively or even apocalyptic imagery by the New York–based photographer. Her work captures societies in transformation that persevere with their ancestral traditions while their traditional lifeways are under constant threat. The remarkable men and women her lens captures challenge the viewer, revealing aspects of these individuals without completely penetrating their mysterious universe. The exhibition is on view from July 5–October 27, 2019, and was produced under the supervision of Chris Boylan.
Tribal Art Fair Amsterdam
On October 25–27, 2019, the beautiful De Duif church in central Amsterdam will host the 17th annual Amsterdam Tribal Art Fair (TAF), which has become a must-attend event to which aficionados of African, Oceanic, Asian, and American Indian arts in search of reasonably priced additions to their collections always eagerly look forward. Year after year, this convivial and informally organized show has attracted a faithful clientele and a base of exhibitors from all over the world who present figures and masks, as well as textiles, wickerwork objects, jewelry, and many other kinds of beautiful objects. TAF is also about sharing information, and it is very much an event oriented toward the furthering of knowledge. A program of lectures and other presentations has something for everyone, from the neophyte to the inveterate tribal art collector.
Echoes of Dreamtime
Marc Petit, lover of tribal arts, author of À masque découvert (1995), which unveiled the essential beauty of Himalayan masks, returns to explore the mythologies of different cultures from around the world, this time through the medium of paint. He robes these diverse cosmologies in rich colours. He invites us to travel with him to lands in whose mythical tales we might already consider ourselves well-versed: ancient Greece, pharaonic Egypt, Vedic India, Celtic and Germanic realms, the Near East. But also into far less familiar territory: that of old Asia, fertile with monsters and ghosts, and finally, to the Peoples of the Cold – Hyperboreans like the Evenks, Inuits and Nivkhs, still so distant to us. Interpreted with a very personal poetry, rendered through creative colours and lines, these stories appear to us anew – fresh and bright, powerful and graceful, in all their original innocence. They bathe in a dreamlike phosphorescence, often frequented by the mischief, mirth and humour of an artist who has remastered the divine ease of childhood. Through his paintbrush, drenched in the colours of dreams, Marc Petit becomes a bearer of myths, restoring to us that which he calls Echoes of Dreamtime, that time immemorial when, in every place on earth, there dwelled in man the desire to create a story that would help him make sense of the universe. A text written by Chantal DETCHERRY. The exhibition "Echos du temps du rêve" is presented by Tischenko Gallery at 21 rue Guénégaud in Paris, from October 19 until 29.
2 major sales at Christie's!
Christie’s is preparing 2 sales! The first one will take place on October 17 : "Paris Avant-Garde auction", a modern and post-war art sale that will also include a selection of major works of African art. A beautiful, powerful, and yet balanced Baule mask, formerly in the Helena Rubinstein Collection, will be among the emblematic works that will be offered. On October 30, a few days after this event, a sale titled Splendeurs: art d’Afrique, d’Amérique du Nord et d’Océanie (Splendors: Art of Africa, the Americas, and Oceania) will be held. It will be made up of fifty lots. There will be two main groups of pieces. The first is a selection of eighteen beautiful Northwest Coast objects from a private collection that includes Tlingit, Tsimshian, and Haida works, among others. The second is from a royal collection assembled by a refined and keenly honed eye. Although some Oceanic objects will be included in it, the twenty-two pieces in this group are mostly examples of classical West and Central African art. The Côte d’Ivoire Ligbi mask formerly in the Barbier-Mueller Collection and the Songye figure from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly the property of Robert Rubin, are among them. The sale will be completed by a number of pieces with various provenances, including several once in the collection of Pierre Matisse.
Le Soleil de Nuit @ Sotheby's Paris
PARIS—With Le soleil de nuit (The Night Sun), Sotheby’s could not have picked a more evocative title for its next non-European art sale, which will be held on October 30, 2019. Under the supervision of Stacy Goodman, Sotheby’s expert for Pre-Columbian art and a close friend of the collector whose eye will be celebrated with this sale, Sotheby's presents a new exceptional group of objects. The seventy-six lots that comprise the sale evince an astonishing comprehension of the depth and nuances that were at the heart of the rich artistic manifestations of the ancient Pre-Hispanic civilizations. Among them are a sublime alabaster Teotihuacan mask (one of four in the collection), a sumptuous Chinesco-style fi gure, a Maya vase depicting a scribe, another Maya sculpture of a noble, and, fi nally, a striking Veracruz mask, the faces of which relate to life and death and are a metaphor for Mesoamerican religious beliefs. Viewing : 26-29 October. The sale will take place on October 30 at 7pm.
PARIS—From October 17–31, 2019, Galerie Meyer will devote an exhibition to the art of tattooing, a practice in which peoples all over the world have engaged in order to mark identities and status, as well as to protect themselves against their adversaries. Particularly ubiquitous in the Pacific and the Great North, the two areas Galerie Meyer specializes in, the art of tattooing requires the use of special instruments. The designs made with them are reflected in sculptures and masks, they can also be seen in photographs and paintings. Identités encrées (Inked Identities) will explore the history of all aspects of the tattoo with traditional objects and historical documentation, but it will also delve into the contemporary aspects of the subject. Well-known artists will be on hand and working at the gallery, transforming it into a temporary tattoo parlor. Visitors will have the opportunity to discover the work of Russian artist Dmitry Babakhin and of Polynesian artist Po’oino Yrondi, both of whom specialize in Polynesian tattooing.
In Dialogue with the Forest: Barkcloth Paintings from Congo
To make barkcloth, traditionally used for clothing, Mbuti men collected pieces of the inner bark of fi g trees and pounded them until they were thin and pliable. Mbuti women decorated the surfaces with intricate designs, using twigs and their fingers to apply dyes made from plant saps and charcoal powder. The abstract paintings express the shapes and motions of the forest, with the motifs referring to paths, webs, insects, and hunting nets, among many other things. These vibrant patterns also refer to the noises of the rainforest and to Mbuti music. An exhibition at the Minneapolis Institute of Art until November 3, 2019, features fifteen of these elegantly painted barkcloths dating from the mid twentieth century. Excerpts of Mbuti songs and recordings of the rainforest, played in a continuous loop, create an acoustic ambiance for the paintings. The barkcloths featured in In Dialogue with the Forest were formerly in the collection of the late Mary Hunt Kahlenberg in Santa Fe and were acquired by the museum in 2018.
Tribal Art Auction at De Zwaan
The De Zwaan auction house will offer a number of tribal art objects from well-known Dutch collections at an auction that will be held on November 5, 2019, around the same time as the Amsterdam Tribal Art Fair. One of the highlights of the sale will be what is very likely a Iatmul flute stopper from the Middle Sepik River in Papua New Guinea. It was purchased in the 1930s by artist, author, and Dutch museum director Otto van Tussenbroek (1882–1957) from Aaron Vecht (1886–1965), a dealer well known for his activities in promoting Asian and modern art in Holland and in France. An unusually large Dogon n’duleri maternity, acquired in the 1950s and sold at Sotheby’s London in 1961, is certain to arouse interest, as are two semicircular Maori lintels that date from the late nineteenth or early twentieth century and were formerly in the collection of Cornelis Pieter Meulendijk (1912–1979) before being sold at Christie’s Amsterdam in 1986. A Northwestern Asmat war shield dating to before the Second World War and previously in the Ernst Heinrich Collection in Bad Cannstatt comes to the sale from yet another collection. The shield is extraordinary for the representation of an anthropo-zoomorphic figure at its center. Its Amsterdam-based owner also purchased New Britain objects, including Tolai dance staffs, from Mia and Loed van Bussel. Evidence of this aficionado’s keen eye is apparent in objects he acquired from the Arctic Circle all the way to the Melanesian Archipelago, including a korwar figure and a small Korewori River-area yipwon, to mention but a couple of examples.