Paris Tribal 2019
Paris Tribal is an annual event that was created by local Parisian dealers specializing in the arts of Africa, Oceania, Asia, and the Americas, which has now become eagerly awaited by an ever-larger audience. Now in its sixth year, it will take place in the Beaux- Arts and Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood from April 10–14, 2019. The key to its success has been the variety and quality of the material it presents, as well as the thematic exhibitions it often features. Among the latter this year will be Galerie Flak’s show on Cook’s voyages, Jo de Buck’s exhibition of Kuba textiles at Galerie Alain Bovis, and a show on modernist painter and tribal art collector Eugène de Kermadec presented by Laurent Dodier at Galerie Meyer. Select galleries invited from other parts of France and abroad to participate also enhance the show. The twenty-five participating dealers have also announced that they will be showing selections of works that include many objects at modest prices in an effort to encourage new buyers and collectors—another innovation attesting to Paris Tribal’s dynamic approach.
Secret: Who Is Allowed to Know What
The common thread that runs through a Murano glass bracelet, a heartshaped love letter, a Sande society mask from Sierra Leone or Liberia, and a kalengula mask from the DRC is that they each hold a well-kept secret. In "Le secret. Qui a le droit de savoir quoi" ("Secret: Who Is Allowed to Know What"), the Museum der Kulturen in Basel explores this subject through the presentation of a variety of objects in its collection, revealing the stories they conceal. Whether intended to establish borders between initiates and strangers, to ensure power and control, to imperil those who might divulge it, to arouse curiosity, or to seduce, the secret is explored here in all of its forms.
Inca Dress Code
The Musée du Cinquantenaire has ambitious plans for September, when it will open an exhibition devoted to a relatively little-considered yet fundamental form of Pre-Columbian art: the textile. While the colonials sought gold and collectors have coveted sculpture, the Andean peoples of pre-contact times valued above all else the work of weavers and feather artists, who produced beautiful garments and ornaments loaded with iconographic symbols. Mummies were adorned with them, figures were dressed in them, and meticulous care was taken in the choice of their colors and designs, as well as in the details of their manufacture. The Inca Dress Code exhibition examines all aspects of this art form, from the choice of raw materials to the perseverance of these traditions over time, and it explains the significance of various designs while providing a chronological and historical account of the less well-known Andean peoples, who preceded the famous Inca. From November 23, 2018, through March 24, 2019, nearly two hundred objects from some of the greatest collections will be brought together for this event. In addition to those from the Musée du Cinquantenaire’s own holdings, works on view will include many major pieces from the Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, the Linden-Museum in Stuttgart, and the MAS in Antwerp.
Dimensions of power
In the past, African art was often tied into the ways in which African leaders promoted their agendas. Royalty and rulers used art to project their authority, religious groups promoted their faiths, and the wealthy displayed their riches. Ordinary Africans also used art to enable them to wield their own forms of power. Since supernatural forces were thought to play a large role in determining events, it was important to own objects that could withstand or shape events that lay beyond ordinary control. Reflecting these themes, fifty-nine outstanding works from the collection of the Snite Museum at the University of Notre Dame have been brought together in a reinstallation of the permanent African gallery under the title Dimensions of Power. Together the artworks illustrate these concepts through themes of economic, political, social, and spiritual power in Africa. Most of the works have never before been on public view, and nearly a third belong to the Owen D. Mort Jr. Collection, which is composed of art primarily from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where Mort worked for many years. The reinstallation was curated by Visiting Curator of African Art Elizabeth Morton, who also authored an illustrated catalog of the collection.
New acquisitions at LACMA
Each year since 1986, the Collectors Committee of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) holds a fundraiser that results in the acquisition of several artworks for the collection. This year’s event was a two-day affair that included curator-led art presentations, private dinners at the homes of major LACMA supporters, and a gala dinner where members voted on artworks to add to the museum’s permanent collection. The ninety-six voting members raised more than $3.1 million and expended it on ten items or groups of items. Two of these augment the museum’s quietly but significantly growing collection of African art. Following this meeting, a monumental Ijo forest spirit fi gure from Nigeria, one of the most imposing and expressive of all known examples of its type, is now part of LACMA’s permanent collection. It was the centerpiece of Tradition as Innovation in African Art at LACMA in 2008, and with its seven heads and fourteen eyes, it now underscores the multiplicity of visions that LACMA embodies and imparts. The second acquisition is a collection of twenty-nine Mbuti barkcloth paintings from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Painted by women, these delicate artworks emphasize asymmetry and visual dissonance that simultaneously mimics the imagery of the Ituri rainforest where the Mbuti live and aligns with the syncopated polyphonic rhythms of their music. This collection is a fi tting counterpoint for the museum’s strong collection of Kuba cut-pile prestige textiles, itself a gift of the Collectors Committee in 2009.
The Spiritan Museum of African Art is Opening !
The Spiritan Museum of African Art will open on November 25, 2018, in purpose-built quarters. The Congregation of the Holy Spirit realized the importance of both stewarding its collection and making it as accessible as possible to everyone, which has prompted the creation of this new space. Through its contact with various African peoples since the mid nineteenth century, this Catholic missionary society has amassed a large collection of African objects that includes a number of remarkable masterpieces from Gabon and the Congo. In-depth research and inventory work performed with the help of Nicolas Rolland, the museum’s academic consultant who is also a dealer and expert in African art, has allowed the museum to take stock of its collection and identify the works that will be highlighted in the new installation. The Spiritan Museum of African Arts is located in the Spiritan Saint-Joseph community, in Allex in the Drôme (France).
Reflections. Maori Art and Helme Heine’s View on New Zealand
Reflections: Maori Art and Helme Heine’s View on New Zealand is the current temporary exhibition at the Museum Fünf Kontinente. On view until April 28, 2019, it explores different perspectives and “reflections” on the art of New Zealand by renowned German artist, illustrator, and satirist Helme Heine. In the fi rst perspective, a political one, Heine takes a kind of mischievous pleasure in describing his adopted country’s contradictions. The second part is an homage to his friend and neighbor, New Zealand artist engraver Cliff Whiting, who died in 2017, and Heine echoes and honors his European-descended colleague here. These modern perspectives are counterpointed by some of the oldest pieces in the museum’s collection, which happen to be Maori. In harmony with the works of contemporary artists, the greenstone volutes and interlacing wooden openwork designs of former times attest to the aesthetic wealth of this distant land. As the exhibition text states, the recent works are the descendants and reflections of ancient masterpieces in their aspect, their history, and their duality.
South American Expeditions
Pre-Columbian ceramics will be presented at the Museo Internazionale delle Ceramiche in an exhibition orchestrated by the Fondazione Giancarlo Ligabue in Venice. Aztechi, Maya, Inca e le culture dell’antica America (Aztec, Maya, Inca, and the Ancient American Cultures) is on view until April 28, 2019, and provides a comprehensive overview of the major cultures of Pre-Columbian America through the presentation of a wide variety of pieces. Antonio Aimi and Antonio Guarnotta, the exhibition’s curators, take new approaches other than the archaeological and offer new perspectives on this fascinating art. The show explores less frequently considered subjects such as the place of women in society and the Conquest from the point of view of indigenous Americans. The show also strives to include representative material from each of the diverse Pre-Columbian cultures, both in Mesoamerica and in the Northern Andes, rather than focusing only on the best-known ones. This approach reveals unexpected shared characteristics among them.
Hawaii Revisited at the Linden Museum
In the ever-developing dialog between contemporary and traditional art, it’s now the Linden Museum’s turn to participate. The focus here is Hawaii, its art and history, its current production and issues, all of which are presented through the little-seen James Cook collection held by the University of Göttingen. The last queen of Hawaii was deposed in 1893 due to pressure from the United States, despite ferocious resistance by the islands’ inhabitants, and the territory has had a complicated history ever since. Through May 5, 2019, Hawai’i revisité. La collection James Cook à Göttingen en dialogue avec l’art contemporain (Hawaii Revisited: The James Cook Collection at Göttingen in Dialog with Contemporary Art) explores many aspects of the islands. It affords a rare opportunity to see masterpieces such as a ki’i hulu manu, the striking image of a deity rendered in bright red feathers; a nobleman’s feathered helmet, or mahiole; and a bracelet of boar tusks. On view at the Linden Museum in Stuttgart until Mai 5, 2019.
Rapa Nui in Hawaii
The Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum is presenting a new exhibition that delves into the wonders of Rapa Nui, or Easter Island. Showcasing the Bishop Museum’s extensive cultural and natural science collections from the island, Rapa Nui: The Untold Stories of Easter Island draws upon recent studies conducted by Bishop Museum researchers and collaborators to highlight some lesser-known stories about the island. More than 150 cultural treasures and never-before- seen biological specimens from the museum’s collection will be on display together for the fi rst time. In the installation, a number of iconic moai are joined by the largest collection of artifacts in a single collection etched with the island’s enigmatic rongo rongo glyphs. This form of writing, which has eluded decipherment, was carved into wooden tablets and staffs. Chiefl y adornments such as ua (ceremonial staffs), rei miro (breastplates), and intricate feathered headdresses attest to the skill and artistry of Rapanui artists, and a highlight of the exhibit will be the museum’s entire collection of thirty kai kai, or string fi gures, used to recount oral traditions and tell stories. These were collected in 1934–35 by ethnographer Alfred Métraux from Amelia Tepano, the most knowledgeable cultural expert in this practice at the time of his visit to the island. Rapa Nui: The Untold Stories of Easter Island is accompanied by the complementary Bishop exhibit Ka U‘i: Contemporary Art from Rapa Nui, featuring works by eight Rapa Nui–based artists who explore Rapanui identity, politics, the environment, and ancient art forms through contemporary media, including sculpture, photography, and painting. Another concurrent exhibition, Hare Tao‘a, Hare Tangata, is at the Museo Antropológico Padre Sebastián Englert (MAPSE), the local museum on Rapa Nui, where it can be seen until February 2019.