Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More on DAM

DAM; Denver Art Museum:

It has been two weeks since my trip to Denver. The core of this trip was my visit to the African Art gallery in Denver Art Museum.*

The inspiration behind this trip was an exhibition we are putting together at the end of this semester, for a course taught by Professor Moyo Okediji, called Museums and African Art: Case of Egungun Masquerade.** Since the exhibition covers both contemporary and historic art pieces, I decided to visit the Denver Art Museum, which not only has one of the richest galleries of African Art (historic) but also it covers a wide range of contemporary art by African and African American artists.

Before coming to UT at Austin, Moyo Okediji was a professor of visual arts at the University of Colorado at Denver and assistant curator of African, African American, and Oceanic arts at the Denver Art Museum. In his class we explore different accounts of the Western approaches towards the study of African Art and the display of African art in museums. The great part of the problem in the study of African Art is embedded in the underlying arrogance as well as ignorance of Western historians, art historians and anthropologists towards cultures unknown to them.***

The exhibition is called Egungun: Diaspora Recycling, An Art Exposition of Transformation & Border Crossings. The exhibition will be on view in the Fine Arts Library at University of Texas at Austin. I will post more information about this exhibition as soon as the formal invitation is out.

Denver Art Museum, Hamilton Building, Daniel Libeskind,
Photo date October 2008

Untitled (Atlas), Fred Wilson, 1992, Denver Art Museum

Detail, Fred Wilson 1992 work, photo date October 2008

* General admission for the Denver Art Museum is $13 for adults,$3 for youth (6 –18) – made me feel Old –, it is free for kids under 6, and the student ticket costs $8.

** Egungun Masquerade is on of many forms of masquerade performances in Yoruba land.

*** The label of “African Art” that is presented, as a unified entity here is also an issue: unfortunately we rarely distinguish the Art of Africa by the name of its country, like Nigerian art, etc.

PS. Esha Momeni was released. Read more on For Esha.


Mehdy.K said...

Saalaam !
I'm Mehdi from Tehran . You're Belog is cool . I wish to see this musem.DO you know Maryam Mirzakhani ? I want to connect with her but i haven't her phone number. can you help me ?

Siavash said...

Hi Roja,
I am also writing one of my papers on Matisse and his odalisques, that is, what could his attitude be about the Orient and colonization policies of France at the time? Can we accuse him of being a colonizer( an influential one, considering his popularity in modern art)?
It's interesting that how western art historians and publications has turned a blind eye on the subject!
I hope you're doing well on your papers.
I will come to Austin as soon as possible, though, I am going to NYC to see my brother first; I haven't seen him for 7 years! I can't wait more:)

Tameshk said...

Siavash Jan
You have a point there: I think you would like to read Fereshteh Daftari's PhD thesis, she is an assistant curator in MOMA and her thesis was on Matisse. I personally like to be careful about the time line and Orientalizing issues; for example If we consider the issues conserning Primitivism and African Art as part of colonization and post-colonialism, where do we place Picasso, who after being asked about the influences of African Art in his works, he said, something like "African Art!? What is African Art!?" any how I have to find you the exact phrase. But it is interesting.
Daftari's thesis studies the eastern motives in Matisse.
And Please Come here soon, and Enjoy visiting NYC and CT.

Siavash said...

Thank you for your comment; You are exactly right about the timelines. I personally think we can't criticize an artist easily. Matisse himself said that we belong to our time and we share in its opinions, its feelings, even its delusions.
I have heard about Daftari's thesis and the exhibition 'Seven ways of looking(I guess), though, I don't have access to that thesis.