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Museum for African Art, 36-01 43rd Avenue, Long Island City, Queens, (718)784-7700 "

The UBS Art Gallery, located in the lobby of its building at 1285 Avenue of the Americas, New York City. African Art Is …

An exhibition organized by the Museum for African Art  July 1 - September 10, 2004


The UBS Art Gallery

Over the last twenty years, the Museum for African Art has proposed many alternate endings to the open-ended phrase “African Art is… . ” We have suggested that African art can be “ … part of everyday life”; “ … a way to communicate with the spirits”; “ … a reflection of an artist’s vision”; and a range of other proposals. This spectrum of possible meanings, conveyed through more than forty exhibitions and accompanying publications up to and including the present show, African Art is… . , has been explored in accord with the Museum’s mission: to make African art accessible to many different audiences, helping them both to feel this work emotionally and sensually and to understand it intellectually. None of our exhibitions and accompanying publications has attempted to present a total view of African art; instead, we have tried to look at African art from a wide spectrum of directions and to propose radically disparate approaches to it. Taken together, these varied and sometimes even contradictory approaches have created new ways to understand and appreciate a body of art that is moving and immediate but that also makes special demands on Western audiences. They have also shown us that the way we look informs what we see.

Exhibition Brochure / 254 kB

African Art Is… collects choice segments of these forty-odd earlier exhibitions in order to juxtapose the approaches they have taken in one place and moment. The show begins with a fundamental question: are African objects artworks or artifacts? A vignette from the 1988 exhibition Art/Artifact questions Western methods of museum display and installation that remove objects from their original contexts of use and elevate them to the status of art. This fundamental issue arises because most African art was not originally made to be looked at in the way that Western art is admired in museums; questioning how we classify and define objects, then, is a theme that the Museum has continually revisited.

The UBS Art Gallery

As part of its ongoing commitment to the arts, UBS sponsors five exhibitions each year in The UBS Art Gallery, located in the lobby of its building at 1285 Avenue of the Americas, New York City. Through its exhibition program, the Gallery offers non-profit New York-area arts and cultural organizations a midtown Manhattan exhibition space and the opportunity to introduce their programs to a new audience. The UBS Art Gallery enables many institutions to organize and mount exhibitions that might not otherwise be seen. These exhibitions encourage interest in the arts among the hundreds of employees, clients and members of the general public who pass through the UBS building each day.

You can download the catalogue at UBS pdf catalogue

Read also on the same subject: Long Island African art museum


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