african masksSeattle Art Museum
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A fine Eastern Pende Panya-Gombe African mask. Coll.: David Norden

African Art books I like | Genuine African Masks

Inside the new Seattle Art Museum: African art

Location: Fourth floor north

seattle art museum african art galleries

SAM at nightThe African galleries include these masked figures from Nigeria, dressed for a village masquerade
(May 04, 2007). Photo Credit: Paul Joseph Brown/Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Spirit and flesh fuse through art in Africa. That means a group of guys sitting around in a dirt circle might well have the ceremonial weight of the pope at High Mass in St. Peter's Basilica.

Seattle Art Museum

By REGINA HACKETT found at P-I ART

You know their force field through their masks, clothing and postures. African art curator Pam McClusky brings home the message that ceremonial art is alive and well through a group of figures carved and danced by the Afikpo village group in Nigeria.

Collected by Seattle art historian and anthropologist Simon Ottenberg, each mask defines a position. It's a male universe with one unattainable female, and all the ploys frozen in place mark efforts to win her favor.

The Afikpo people chose the clothing to go with Ottenberg's masks. The footwear could be found on the feet of young urban males around the globe.

Seattle Art Museum

Seattle Tower
1220 Third Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101
Phone: 206.343.1101
Fax: 206.343.0549

SAM African Art (objects in the permanent collection ) 

SAM African Art Seattle

related book:
African art, from crocodiles to convertibles, in the collection of the Seattle Art Museum (Paperback)
by Pamela McClusky (Author) available from $6.49

East African Art in the Collection of the Seattle Art Museum

Author: Eugene C. Burt; available from $10.75

Calabash : A Guide to the History, Culture, and Art of African Americans in Seattle and King County, Washington (Paperback)

Author: Esther Hall Mumford; from $2.85

 

The figures are frozen, but McClusky surrounds them in videos. As Robert Farris Thompson noted in his book on SAM's Katherine White collection, "Africa Art in Motion," static art in Africa is inherently contradictory.

In 1981, SAM became a major player in African art when White gave her collection, the finest in private hands, as a partial gift. She chose SAM because she knew McClusky, who in turn had studied with Thompson.

It's a brave world with brilliant people in it, and SAM wouldn't have a place on its map without its internationally celebrated curator.

Because McClusky's galleries are in the new northern wing of the expansion, known as the chilly side, her challenge was to warm them up with art. You know you're entering a new world as you emerge from the escalator on the fourth floor. The frosted glass wall under the handrails is a video screen. Music comes in centralized wave baths, which you move into and out of.

Against a high wall against the escalator is William Kentridge's haunting "Shadow Procession," with a sound bath of "What a Friend We Have in Jesus."

Other highlights in the African galleries include Seydou Keita's and Malick Sidibe's photos, especially Sidibe's "Roadside Picnic" from 1976, with Malian teenagers holding up American rock 'n' roll records. Say it loud, James Brown. Kane Quaye's deluxe car coffin is the answer to Janis Joplin's prayer: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes-Benz. Heaven, here we come.

DON'T MISS: Marita Dingus' "400 Men and 200 Women of African Descent," from 1997, examines the slave trade through trashed memorials. Every single figure is unique.

 

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David Norden


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African art books

The Tribal Arts of Africa

The Tribal Arts of Africa
Author: Jean-Baptiste Bacquart

more African Art books I like


read also : Start ] Virtual Museum ] African-Americans SF ] Chicago-ceramics ] Newark Museum ] Cleveland arms ] de Young-SF ] Museum of fine arts Boston ] Brooklyn Museum ] New Orleans Museum ] Detroit Institute DIA ] SAMA Artistry ] Museum for African Art ] Barbier-Mueller ] Cleveland ] Dallas-Museum-of-Arts ] Indianapolis ] Columbia-Urhobo ] NMAA Art-Treasures ] Baltimore-museum ] Dapper postcolonial ] Fine-arts-Houston ] Menil-Houston-Texas ] Louvres-Islamic art ] Minneapolis ] Metropolitan ] Israel Museum Jerusalem ] Orlando-Museum ] Cincinnati art museum ] Philadelphia-Museum ] Polk-Museum-of-Art ] african culture Portland ] Smithsonian-Washington ] SMA fathers New Jersey ] Tervueren ] UMKC-Belger Arts ] Whitman-New-Jersey ] West-Valley-Arizona ] Kunstkamera-Petersburg ] Ethnology-Vienna ] Irma-Stern-Museum ] Appleton museum Ocala ] UCLA-Fowler ] Benin Museum ] Weltkulture ] DuSable Museum ] Cuba museum ] fineartshouston ] Bowers museum ] Museu Afro Brazil ] airport art ] Nelson Atkins ] Zora Neale ] branly museum ] Longyear museum ] Douglas society Denver ] Denver art museum ] Centre Black African Civilization ] charles wright ] [ Seattle Art Museum ] Samuel Dorsky ] High museum Atlanta ]

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