Museum AOA Exhibitions Spring 2015

New Orleans Museum of Art – Kongo Across the Waters

March 1, 2015.  An exhibition jointly organized by the Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida and the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren, Belgium is an opportunity to see works that have rarely left Belgium since they were collected in the colonial period. The exhibition Kongo Across the Waters at the New Orleans Museum of Art travels through both time and space; it brings together early works of the Kongo region of Central Africa with ritual objects created by slaves brought to work in the American South, evidence of religious activities retained by African Americans, and Congolese influences in American music of the early and mid 20th century. The final section of the exhibition shows how ancient traditions resonate with and inspire contemporary artistic endeavors, exemplified by the works of Edouard Duval-Carrié (Haitian-Floridian), Renée Stout (American), Radcliffe Bailey (American), José Bedia (Cuban-American) and Steve Bandoma (Congolese). Exhibition dates: February 27, 2015 – May 25, 2015.
Image: Kongo peoples, Lower Congo, DRC / Collection RMCA Tervuren, EO.0.0.43708. Photo R. Asselberghs , RMCA Tervuren (c)
http://committeeforculturalpolicy.org/new-orleans-museum-of-art-kongo-across-the-waters/

Penn Museum Exhibit ‘Beneath the Surface: Life, Death, and Gold in Ancient Panama’

February 7, 2015. After a 1930’s flood scattered golden ornaments along the banks of the Rio Grande Coclé in Panama, local landowners called in a team of archeologists from Harvard’s Peabody Museum to investigate. More extensive excavations of a thousand-year-old cemetery at the site were completed by a Penn Museum exploration team in 1940. The Penn team found extraordinary examples of the material culture of a little-known people, the Coclé, including large golden plaques and pendants with animal-human motifs, precious and semi-precious stone, ivory, and animal bone ornaments, and literally tons of detail-rich painted ceramics. An exhibition, Beneath the Surface: Life, Death, and Gold in Ancient Panama, running February 7- November 1, 2015 invites visitors to explore the world view, social structure, artistic style and material culture of the region from 700 to 900 AD.
A model of one major burial that held 23 individuals in three layers serves as the exhibition’s centerpiece. The re-creation features many artifacts displayed in the actual positions they were found The exhibition makes use of diary entries, drawings, photographs, and color film to tell the story of the excavations; the two hundred objects from the site tell the story on the Coclé people.
Image: Cocle Province, Panama, Parque archeologica del Cano, Osamentas en las fosas que fueron halladas. Excavación de la Dra. Reina Torres de Arauz en los 197x, By Victor Sanchez Urrutia (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
 http://committeeforculturalpolicy.org/penn-museum-exhibit-beneath-the-surface-life-death-and-gold-in-ancient-panama/


First Peoples Exhibitions: Australian Encounters & Masterworks of American Indian Art

March 1, 2015. The British Museum is partnering with Australia’s National Museum in an exhibition bringing the earliest artifacts collected by then-Lieutenant James Cook in the some of the first encounters between settlers and indigenous Australians. The British Museum is lending 151 objects for the first of three exhibitions, Encounters, opening in Canberra in November 2015, then the BM’s A History of the World in 100 Objects exhibition. Australia’s National Museum is sending an important work by Papunya artist Uta Uta Tjangala for a British Museum London exhibition supported by BP, Indigenous Australia: Enduring Civilization, which opens in April 2015.
February 29, 2015. Indigenous Beauty: Masterworks of American Indian Art from the Diker Collection will be at the Seattle Art Museum from February 12-May 17, 2015. The exhibition is organized into eleven groupings around geographical and cultural themes: ancient ivories from the Bering Strait region; Yup’ik and Aleut masks from the Western Arctic; Katsina dolls of the Southwest pueblos; Southwest pottery; sculptural objects from the Eastern Woodlands; decorative clothing from Eastern and Plains tribes; pictographic arts of the Plains; sculpture and weaving of the Northwest Coast; and Western baskets. The exhibition was curated by David Penney, former Curator of Native American Art at the Detroit Institute of Arts. The Charles and Valerie Diker collection is one of the most comprehensive and diverse private collections of Native American art. Objects from the collection have previously been shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. The Seattle exhibition is the first location for the show. It travels to the Amon Carter Museum of Art (July 5–September 13, 2015); Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University (October 8, 2015–January 3, 2016); and the Toledo Museum of Art (February 14– May11, 2016).
Image: American Federation of Art, Maskette, 1780-1830, Tsimshian, Wood, copper, shell, opercula shell, pigment, 7 1⁄10 × 5 15⁄16 × 3 9⁄16 in., Diker no. 681
 http://committeeforculturalpolicy.org/first-peoples-exhibitions-australian-encounters-masterworks-of-american-indian-art/

L: Efomba, commemorative figure, first quarter of 20th century. Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nkundu. Wood, fiber, and pigment. 2013.78.5. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, gift of Richard H. Scheller. Photo © Robert A. Kato; R: Eyema byeri (the image of the ancestor), figure from a reliquary assemblage, 19th century. Gabon, Fang Ntumu. Wood. Private collection. Photo © Robert A. Kato
L: Efomba, commemorative figure, first quarter of 20th century. Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nkundu. Wood, fiber, and pigment. 2013.78.5. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, gift of Richard H. Scheller. Photo © Robert A. Kato; R: Eyema byeri (the image of the ancestor), figure from a reliquary assemblage, 19th century. Gabon, Fang Ntumu. Wood. Private collection. Photo © Robert A. Kato

Embodiments: Masterworks of African Figurative Sculpture

January 31, 2015July 5, 2015
Textile Galleries 60-61
This selection of sculptures from sub-Saharan Africa pays homage to the figure in African art. Embodiments: Masterworks of African Figurative Sculpture features 120 pieces from the collection of Richard H. Scheller, composed of classic and iconic sculptures as well as more unusual examples that challenge commonly held assumptions about African art. The geographical breadth of the collection and the variations in its depictions of the human form will allow visitors to explore both the histories and the formal qualities of these works of art.
Approximately 110 cultural groups are represented by sculptures spanning several centuries and encompassing a broad range of styles, from realism to abstraction. In their original contexts, these objects represented ancestors, expressed community values, and served religious and ceremonial purposes. For example, Luluwa artists carved bwimpe (power figures) that expressed ideals of beauty as a moral virtue through their highly intricate coiffures and stylized scarification marks, and rituals associated with these sculptures offered protection to women and their children.
As works of art that were removed from their originating communities and entered the art market, the sculptures in this exhibition express value systems and cultural relationships both inside and outside Africa. Works such as the eyema byeri (or “the image of the ancestor”), from the Fang Ntumu of northern Gabon, were once placed atop reliquaries containing human remains. During the early 20th century, such sculptures circulated among European and American dealers and collectors whose interest in African art was spurred by a passion for modernism. The Scheller Collection eyema byeri was once owned by Paul Guillaume, a Parisian dealer and champion of modernist art who was also an advisor to the legendary Dr. Albert Barnes, founder of the Barnes Foundation.