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.
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.
Artistic Encounters with Indigenous America
An exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art will explore how European and American artists represented Indigenous North Americans in drawings, prints, watercolors, photographs, and popular ephemera from the seventeenth to the early twentieth century. Through forty-five examples from the Met collection, the display will trace the evolution of this complex imagery over time, highlighting the ways in which it contributed to the creation and dissemination of myths and misconceptions about Native peoples, often justifying their dispossession, cultural destruction, and genocide. From formulaic depictions of so-called savage warriors and Indian princesses to romanticized representations of a “vanishing race,” these works reveal the pervasive influence of indigenous America on the Euro-American imagination. Artistic Encounters with Indigenous America can be seen from December 3, 2018–May 13, 2019, and serves as an interesting counterpoint to Art of Native America: The Charles and Valerie Diker Collection, which is discussed elsewhere in this issue.
Asen Arts of Dahomey at the Musée Barbier-Mueller
For the Winter coming, the Musée Barbier-Mueller in Geneva will present a special exhibition focused on the West African tradition of iron altars known as asen, specifically those of the former kingdom of Dahomey. Titled Asen: Mémoires forgés à fer dans l’Art Vodun du Dahomey (Asen: Forged Memories of Iron in Dahomey Vodun Art), it will explore an array of issues important to our understanding of these striking sculptures like artist hands, questions of use, the history of these arts which were found in particular in Benin, Nigeria and Togo populations. The various asen motifs referencing the deceased help to recall the memory of these important figures. Transformed through related offerings, they becomes the means for further engagement with these critical ancestors. This collection, representing some of the finest iron sculptures anywhere in Africa—or elsewhere—offers a unique occasion for close looking at these remarkable works.
"In a Different Light" at the Museum of Anthropology at the UBC
This inaugural exhibition marks the opening of a new gallery dedicated to American Indian and Northwest Coast Indian arts at the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver. More than 110 historically significant and unusually fine artworks are presented in a new way. "In a Different Light: Reflecting on Northwest Coast Art" also marks the return of a number of objects to British Columbia which passed from museums into private collections and away from their communities in the nineteenth century. A goal of the exhibition is to restore their history through the knowledge of artists and First Nation members, as well as to enable these people to reconnect with their origins. Transcending notions of art and craftsmanship, these objects offer precious insight into the connections between Native Americans and their lands. The exhibition sheds light on this culture’s perception of the world, as well as upon the creativity and inventiveness that their works display.
The musée Royal de l'Afrique Centrale in Tervuren Reopen !
On December 9, the Musée Royal de l’Afrique Centrale in Tervuren, Belgium, will reopen after having been closed for fi ve years for renovation. Still in its original building, the museum now boasts more than 100,000 square feet of gallery space for its masterpieces of African art. Moving forward, it will present a dialog between living African artists and iconic masterpieces of the past. The annual special issue of Tribal Art magazine is dedicated to this milestone event. You can have a first look at it by browsing the following link : http://www.tribalartmagazine.com/issue-666608-sample-2. Or Receive FREE of charge our Special Issue no. 8 "An Unrivalled Museum" by subscribing to Tribal Art magazine.
Art of Suriname in Zurich
Heinrich Harrer is mainly known for his mountain-climbing skills, but he was passionate about travel in general and visited New Guinea, Brazil, Suriname, and Asia. He was a collector as well as an explorer, and he amassed nearly 1,500 diverse objects that are lively testimonies to the lifeways of the people as well as to the life of the man who acquired them. Harrer was meticulous and each of his pieces was documented, photographed, recorded in a journal, and sometimes even appeared in a short fi lm. The Völkerkundemuseum of the Universität Zürich, which now holds Harrer’s collection, is showing works from Suriname that he acquired in 1966 in Saamaka, then an isolated and remote part of country. They cast light on the daily lives of the people that created them as well as on the fascinating history of the region.