Tuareg, Nomad Tales
Perceived by their Western colonizers as everything from noble and chivalrous to bloodthirsty and savage, the image of the Tuareg that was built up during colonial times remains firmly rooted in many minds. In "Touaregs, récits nomades", the Musée des Confluences challenges these stereotypes and reveals the Tuareg in all of their complexity and dynamism. The first part focuses on the watercolors of Paul-Elie Dubois, as well as on archival documents and popular items. It then moves on to the remarkable collection of jewelry and amulets donated by the Masnat Association in 2015. These create an immersive experience in the Tuareg aesthetic universe, which is characterized by restraint, equilibrium, a distinctive geometry, and a unique use of color. Excerpts from poems accompany the presentation. Finally, the exhibition examines how the Tuareg are changing their traditional codes while at the same time reaffirming their identity. Like the jewelry they adapt to Western uses, they are reappropriating an idealized Western image to diffuse their culture, to make their demands known, and to enter into a new form of resistance.
Easter Island exhibits in South France
Easter Island will be very present in the Occitanie region of France this year, with no less than three thematic exhibitions divided between the Muséum of Toulouse, Musée Champollion in Figeac and Musée Fenaille in Rodez. Easter Island, a small piece of emerged land that has been fascinating both scientists and passionate amateurs for decades, reveals herself slowly. The tripartite exhibit reviews the last discoveries and the questions still left unsolved, trying to separate myth from reality. At the Musée Champollion, “The Talking Wood” presents the scientific updates in the process of deciphering the glyphs on the “rongorongo” tablets. In Toulouse; the exhibit showcases the mysteries of this Rapa Nui population: Where did they come from? How did they end up there? How does the current local population of the Island live? These are just a few of the questions this exhibition tries to answer. Last but not least, the Musée Fenaille focus’ on the iconic sculptures and iconography of the Island, from the monumental stone figures to the wooden statues called Tangata, it offers a rather exhaustive presentation of the theme by gathering unique art pieces from public institutions and private collections. The exhibitions will take place from June 30th to November 4th of 2018 (and prolonged until 30th of June 2019 for the Muséum of Toulouse).
"Hopi Visions: Journey of the Human Spirit" examines the breadth of Hopi material and spiritual culture throughout time, ranging from ancestral Sikyatki polychrome ceramic vessels to historic kachina (katsina) dolls, such as one of Palhik Mana, the Water-Sipping Maiden. Notable in the installation is a mural painting by Hopi artists Michael Kabotie and Delbridge Honanie, which complements the ancient to contemporary objects drawn from the DMA’s collection. This exhibition marks the first time the Journey of the Human Spirit mural will be on view outside of Arizona and the Museum of Northern Arizona. It was curated by Kimberly L. Jones, curator of the arts of the Americas at the DMA.
Paintings from Afar
“Dare to look in order to learn” could have been the subtitle for the Peintures des Lointains (Paintings from Afar) exhibition at the Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, on view on the West Mezzanine until January 6, 2019. Sarah Ligner, who has been head of the Historic and Contemporary Globalization Heritage Unit at the museum since 2015 and is the curator of this show, has chosen to highlight the museum’s collection of paintings for the fi rst time. This installation presents 220 canvases and works on paper drawn from the approximately 500 works that constitute the museum’s holdings in this fi eld. These pieces date from between the end of the eighteenth and the middle of the twentieth centuries and have been little seen, despite the fact that they include works by artists of great renown such as Paul Gauguin, Henri Matisse, and Émile Bernard, to name just a few.
Africa. The Religions of Ecstasy
A comprehensive temporary exhibition at the Musée d’Ethnographie in Geneva will examine the many and varied religions, past and present, of the African continent. Beginning on May 18, 2018, "Afrique. Les religions de l’extase" ("Africa. The Religions of Ecstasy") will present nearly 400 pieces, most hitherto unseen, from the MEG’s collection. Ethnographic objects, photographs, filmed interviews, and video installations will be used to illustrate the dynamism of the diversity of the forms of worship in Africa, as well as those in Europe and the Americas where religious practices were disseminated through the diaspora. The Religions of Ecstasy will be an immersive experience in magical and mystical ambience. Here religion hinges on the connections between living and invisible beings. The show’s common thread is religious ecstasy— losing oneself in the quest for communion and connection with the sacred world. The show will be divided into four parts: monotheistic religions, “fundamental” autochthonous African religions, possession cults, and the magico-religious African universes. Contemporary photographs will illustrate the fervor of worshippers during rituals or pilgrimages, and videos will examine and explain their perspectives.
Neanderthal: the exhibit
Neither merely a fossil or wild inferior being, Neanderthal was for a long time an underestimated species by his modern successor: Homo Sapiens, us. In order to help them regain some prestige, the Musée de l’Homme has prepared an exhibition honouring this long-gone species. After treading upon the Earth for more than 350 000 years, Neanderthals could teach us a lot about adapting to change at a time where we have to face major climatic changes ourselves. The exhibition tries to place Homo neandertalensis in his own environment, habitat as well as in his place in the history of Evolution. The museum has produced an educative exhibition that is very attached to virtual mediums and life-size reproductions. However, art does not completely surrender its place to science and the exhibit also shows the cultural side of our ancestors—from sculpting bones or creating jewellery to making stone tools. Finally, the exhibition offers a sociological approach to observe and discover the perceptions we had of Neanderthals for the past centuries. The exhibit will be also presented in Montpellier as well as at the Canadian museum of history, in Gatineau.
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.
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.