Tribal Art and Antiquities Auction at Woolley and Wallis
The Woolley and Wallis February sale will commence with a small selection of antiquities including Egyptian shabits and scarabs, Greek pottery and early jewellery. The African section of the sale includes figures, headrests, jewellery, textiles, masks and other everyday objects. A small collection of items from Taiwan include a mystical Yami magamaog, carved in wood. Shields and masks from Papua New guinea form part of the Bob Wise Collection, who had collected from the legendary tribal art collector and adventurer Senta Taft. On sale as well, a collection of Australian Aboriginal shields, churigans, clubs and boomerangs. Preview will start on February 16. The catalogue is available online.
Kuba: Fabric of an empire at the Baltimore Museum of Art
On the southern edge of the Congolese River Basin, nestled between the Kasai and Sankuru Rivers, a remarkable kingdom flourished in the latter half of the second millennium CE. Known to their neighbors as “Kuba,” these “people of the king” developed one of the greatest civilizations in the history of central Africa. Art and design were central to life in this kingdom. In addition to developing an elaborate and varied masquerade tradition, Kuba men and women were prolific textile artists. Houses were woven, currency was embroidered, and an individual’s wealth and power were reflected in the intricacy of the patterns sewn, dyed, and embroidered onto their clothing. Like words on a page, these dazzling designs tell the history of the polity as clearly as any written account or oral history. This is the story the Baltimore Museum of Art is trying to tell us with its new show titled Kuba: Fabric of an Empire. The Museum is providing also a whole research studies on the Kuba textile, trying to determinate a chronology, a symbolism, making the first proper studies on the subject.
Geometries South @ Paris' Fondation Cartier
The Fondation Cartier for Contemporary Art focuses this season on South America and Latin American art. The Parisian institution is working, with its new exhibition "Geometries South: from Mexico to Tierra del Fuego" to exhibit this art in full expansion. Stylized geometric motifs from Tiawanahu cultures, weaving traditions woven with steel wire, colorful intertwined Aymara peoples, architectures inspired by ethnographic photographs of Mayan sites or Macchu Pichu ... the works create a constant dialogue between ancient art and contemporary art , scholarly art and folk art, whose references are to be sought among the pre-Cortesian peoples. Intended to identify the sources drawn by these artists both in pre-Columbian art and in the craftsmanship of today's indigenous communities, the exhibition traces a pathway between periods, cultures and arts.
In the vast and culturally diverse Congolese region of Central Africa, masks function as performance objects in rituals, ceremonies, worship, and entertainment. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts will present an exhibition on this wide-ranging subject titled Congo Masks: Masterpieces from Central Africa. More than 140 striking Congolese masks featured in the show together form an innovative and visually compelling display that represents the artisans and performers who brought them to life, as well as varied communities, belief systems, and natural resources. Dating from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries, the works are drawn from some of the finest and most comprehensive collections in private hands, and more than a dozen examples are presented with their complete ceremonial ensembles. The exhibition also includes original field photographs, field footage, audio recordings, and a selection of related musical instruments. Its immersive multimedia design, presenting eleven distinct regional styles of masks, evokes the diversity of ecosystems and cultures of the immense Congo. The exhibition is curated by Marc Leo Felix, director of the Congo Basin Art History Research Center in Brussels, Belgium. It is accompanied by a substantial catalog published by Yale University Press with contributions by a variety of notable experts in the field.
A world of feathers
The feather is being seen in all of its forms in A World of Feathers, the exhibition currently at the Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen in the Netherlands, which has already been seen in Gothenburg and will finish its tour at the Världskulturmuseerna in Stockholm from October 6, 2018, through March 3, 2019. The show examines this light, fragile, and eye-catching material that continues to fascinate both artists and audiences with its infinite possibilities. The often dazzlingly colored feather, a symbol of freedom and freshness, has been used as an ornament by the native peoples of North America, the Amazon, and Papua New Guinea. Feathers are still widely used today in performances of all kinds, ranging from rituals to fashion shows. They can also be instruments of power and objects of great value. The feather, whose beauty is often proportional to its rarity, has had symbolic and monetary significance among many peoples. Native American power headdresses, feather hats from equatorial regions, and complete feather outfits from Cameroon are all pieces featured in this colorful exhibition that offers an aesthetic experience which crosses oceans and continents as it highlights and explores the universality of a material that can be both decorative and sacred.
Face to Face
A new long-term exhibition opening at the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology on March 10, 2018, poses the questions “Why and how do crafting traditions of the world so often incorporate human faces” and “how do people respond to those faces?” "Face to Face: Looking at Objects That Look at You presents answers to these questions formulated through a wide variety of contrasting objects drawn from the museum’s vast holdings. For example, West African helmet masks and Roman sculptures illustrate varying conceptions of the “ideal” face, while Japanese tobacco boxes and ancient Peruvian portrait jars raise the question of what a facial expression can mean. Chinese bamboo figurines paired with Caroline Mytinger’s paintings of Papua New Guineans represent the contrast between portraying faces of one’s own cultural group versus those of another. This timely exhibit, which cultivates critical thinking about crucial issues such as stereotyping, representation and misrepresentation, and snap judgments, was produced by the Hearst staff working with fourteen UC Berkeley students.
"Collecting Stories: Native American Art" explores the range of perspectives, motivations, and voices involved in building the early holdings of Native American art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The exhibition focuses on objects collected in the formative years after 1876—the year the museum opened its doors to the public. Many of these works of art were donated by leaders of the MFA and members of New England intellectual circles who traveled to the Great Plains and Southwest, often inspired by period notions of “authentic” Indian life. Highlights include an early Navajo (Diné) wearing blanket dating from 1840–60, a pair of important Eastern Woodlands moccasins from the early nineteenth century, and a Plains roach, or headpiece, made of deer and porcupine hair around 1880–85. "Collecting Stories" also examines how Euro-Americans encountered and represented Native Americans in the late nineteenth century, illuminating some of the historical and political contexts within which the MFA’s collection developed.
Summoning the ancestors
The Fowler Museum at UCLA is planning an exhibition highlighting Nigerian ritual metalwork. Titled Summoning the Ancestors: Southern Nigerian Bronzes, this exhibition features the promised gift of approximately 150 bronze bells and ofos amassed by Southern California collector Mark Clayton. It underscores the power of large-scale collections to demonstrate variations of technique and symbolism within a single genre. Grouped by style rather than geographic area or cultural association, the bells and ofos have a broad —seemingly infinite—range of designs accomplished by Igala, Igbo, and other regional metalsmiths using the lost-wax casting technique. The bells include examples large and small, richly adorned or spare in profile, and some that even stretch ideas of what a bell can be. The ofos derive from wooden staffs of power. Summoning the Ancestors is guest curated by Nancy Neaher Maas, independent scholar, and Philip M. Peek, professor emeritus of anthropology, Drew University, New Jersey.
Twenty years after its creation, New Zealand’s Te Papa Tongarewa Museum will inaugurate a major new gallery space called "Toi Art.Turangawaewae: Art and New Zealand" is one of the four inaugural exhibitions that will christen the space. It will bring together nearly 100 pieces drawn from the museum’s collections and dating from the eighteenth century to modern times, augmented with works by other contemporary artists, both Maori and from other parts of the Pacific. The show seeks to address issues of “Who are the New Zealanders, and where do they come from as individuals, as New Zealanders, and as a nation?” It not only questions notions of belonging to this land, but it offers different visions of the ways in which art can help New Zealanders find their place. Turangawaewae identifies the communities, loci, and ideas central to the sense of belonging. Through painting, sculpture, and photography, it explores the questions of art, identity, and intercultural exchange. New Zealand artists represented include Rita Angus, Colin McCahon, Shane Cotton, Gottfried Lindauer, Len Lye, and Robyn Kahukiwa.
Hugo Pratt, skylines
Like his protagonist, Corto Maltese, Italian cartoonist Hugo Pratt was an avid and enthusiastic traveler. His drawings are replete with references to his trips. "Hugo Pratt, lignes d’horizon" explores the places that were dear to him, from the “Great Ocean” to the “Great North” by way of “Amazonia,” the “People of the Sun,” “Africa,” and the “Indians.” The first part of the exhibition features his original drawings, shown in conjunction with the cultural artifacts that enriched his visual universe. The latter are drawn from the museum's collection, augmented by loans from other institutions. The second part is an immersive experience into the artist’s imagination using graphics and sound. Recurring themes in his work, such as trance states and music, shamanism and divination, and signs and symbols, are explored. Another interesting part of this exhibition features two headdresses, one from the Great Plains of the United States and another from Ethiopia, given to the Musée des Confluences by collector Antoine de Galbert. His donation included more than 500 pieces of this kind, complemented by a few full costumes. After being inventoried, studied, and, in some cases, restored, the collection will be the subject of an exhibition in 2019.