Primitivism Revisited Sean Kelly New York

Installation view of Primitivism Revisited: After the End of an Idea at Sean Kelly, New York 
December 16, 2006 - January 27, 2007 
Courtesy: Sean Kelly, New York 

 

Primitivism Revisited Sean Kelly New York

Installation view of Primitivism Revisited: After the End of an Idea at Sean Kelly, New York 
December 16, 2006 - January 27, 2007 
Courtesy: Sean Kelly, New York 

 

Primitivism Revisited Sean Kelly New York

Installation view of Primitivism Revisited: After the End of an Idea at Sean Kelly, New York 
December 16, 2006 - January 27, 2007 
Courtesy: Sean Kelly, New York 

 

Press Release

Sean Kelly Gallery is delighted to announce Primitivism Revisited: After the End of an Idea, the first significant exhibition in over twenty years to re-examine the idea of Primitivism. Classical African art from Mali, the Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, and Nigeria, amongst other regions, will be juxtaposed with a broad range of influential contemporary artists such as Robert Mapplethorpe, Felix Gonzales-Torres, Marina Abramović, Carolee Schneeman, Los Carpinteros, Alfredo Jaar, and Thomas Ruff. This unique exhibition is curated by eighteen Columbia University graduate students of Susan Vogel, Professor of African Art, and founding Director of the Museum for African Art in New York. The opening of Primitivism Revisited: After the End of an Idea will take place on Friday, December 15th from 6pm-8pm and the exhibition will be on view through January 27, 2007.

Primitivism Revisited: After the End of an Idea provides a 21st century view of the notion of Primitivism, which, in the 20th century, traced formal relationships between modern western art and the "primitive" (not only African art but Pre-Columbian, Native American and Oceanic art). Historical connections between the two, commonly ascribed to the work of such artists as Gaugin and Picasso, were extensively studied in 1938 by Robert Goldwater, and were the subject of a 1984 exhibition curated by William Rubin at the Museum of Modern Art, entitled "Primitivism" in Modern Art. Whilst highly critiqued, Rubin's point of view has not subsequently been directly addressed in an exhibition setting.

Primitivism Revisited: After the End of an Idea considers Primitivism in light of art and attitudes formed since Rubin's 1984 exhibition. It is now apparent that Primitivism belongs to a historical period of modern art that was already ending in 1984. Since that time, post-colonial thinking, globalization, and an awareness of our own cultural hybridity have deepened ideas about African culture; the exoticizing and demeaning implications of Primitivism have made it untenable. Artists of the 21st century are engaged in a different kind of dialogue with the arts of Africa.

Checklist

Gallery I (clockwise from left)
Primitivism: Then & Now

Ethiopian style, Unknown Artist, Ethiopia
Cutting Board, 20th century
wood
4 x 19 inches (10.2 x 48.3 cm)
AFR-57

Christine Borland
The Velocity of Drops: Dispensary, 2003
4 framed color photographs
framed: 24 3/8 x 24 3/8 inches (62 x 62 cm)
edition of 3 with 2 APs
CB-33

Baule style, Unknown Artist, Ivory Coast
Figure of a Spirit Wife, 19th – 20th century
wood
12 1/2 3 x 3 1/4 inches (31.8 x 7.6 x 8.3 cm)
AFR-64

Songye style, Unknown Artist, Democratic Republic of Congo
Mask: Kifwebe, late 19th – early 20th century
wood and pigment
14 1/2 x 8 1/2 x 8 inches (36.8 x 21.6 x 20.3 cm)
AFR-66

Dan style, Unknown Artist, Ivory Coast
Mask, 19th – 20th century
wood and metal
10 1/2 x 5 1/4 x 5 3/4 inches (26.7 x 13.3 x 14.6 cm)
AFR-56

Maravi style, Unknown Artist, Malawi
Simoni (St. Simon), 20th century
wood, pigment and fabric
29 x 7 inches (73.7 x 17.8 cm)
AFR-51

Kuba style, Unknown Artist, Democratic Republic of Congo
Underskirt Fragment, late 19th – early 20th century
raffia and fiber
31 x 82 inches (78.7 x 208.3 cm)
AFR-55

Pende style, Unknown Artist, Democratic Republic of Congo
Mask: An Afflicted Person, late 19th – early 20th century
wood and pigment
12 x 7 1/2 x 5 inches (30.5 x 19.1 x 12.7 cm)
Private Collection

Kota style, Unknown Artist, Gabon
Reliquary Figure, late 19th – early 20th century
wood, sheet brass, copper and brass rings
27 1/4 x 12 x 5 1/2 inches (69.2 x 30.5 x 14 cm)
Private Collection

Luba/Hemba style, Unknown Artist, Zaire
Male Figure, late 19th – early 20th century
wood and textile
28 x 8 1/2 x 8 inches (71.1 x 21.6 x 20.3 cm)
Private Collection

Gallery II (clockwise from left)
Manufacturing Authenticity and Constructing Culture

KD
Advertising Sign, early 21st century
sheet metal and acrylic paints
Collected in Kumasi, Ghana
38 3/4 x 37 1/4 inches (98.4 x 94.6 cm)
Private Collection

El Anatsui
Key Issues at Buttonline #1, 2003
mixed media on wood
24 x 59 inches (61 x 149.9 cm)
EA-1

Xhosa style, Unknown Artist, South Africa
Promise Necklace, 1940s
mixed media
8 1/2 x 16 inches (21.6 x 40.6 cm)
AFR-47

Xhosa style, Unknown Artist, South Africa
Cummberbund, early 20th century
blue glass seed beads, mother-of-pearl buttons, hooks, eyes, sinew
8 1/2 x 15 1/2 inches (21.6 x 39.4 cm)
AFR-48

Yinka Shonibare
Toy Painting 25, 2005
emulsion, acrylic on textile, wire, toys
25 x 25 inches (63.5 x 63.5 cm)
YS-2

Fante style, Unknown Artist, Ghana
Asafo Company Flag, late 19th – early 20th century
cotton and raffia
34 x 66 inches (86.4 x 167.6 cm)
AFR-58

Maravi style, Unknown Artist, Malawi
Charlie Chaplin Mask, 20th century
wood, paint and fur
41 x 8 inches (104.1 x 20.3 cm)
AFR-52

Zulu style, Unknown Artist, South Africa
Married Woman's Hat, 20th century
cotton, grass basket, red ocher
diameter: 20 inches (50.8 cm)
AFR-53

Dogon style, Unknown Artist, Mali
Hermaphrodite Figure, 19th century or earlier
wood
29 x 7 inches (73.7 x 17.8 cm)
Private Collection
AFR-51

Tourist Art, Unknown Artist, Nigeria
Mask made for sale to foreigners, late 20th century
wood
20 x 7 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches (50.8 x 19.1 x 11.4 cm)
Collected in South Africa
Private Collection

Bamana style, Unknown Artist, Mali
Chi wara headdress made for sale to foreigners, late 20th century
wood
18 x 1 x 7 1/2 inches (45.7 x 2.5 x 19.1 cm)
Collected in Accra, Ghana
Private Collection

Tourist Art, Unknown Artist, Zimbabwe
Recycled Tin Lion made for sale to foreigners, late 20th century
tin and acrylic paints
6 1/2 x 4 x 1 inches (16.5 x 10.2 x 2.5 cm)
Collected in Washington, D.C.
Private Collection

Kongo style, Unknown Artist, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Figure of Mother and Child, 19th - early 20th century
wood
10 1/2 x 4 x 4 inches (26.7 x 10.2 x 10.2 cm)
Private Collection

Djenné style, Unknown Artist, Mali
Crouching Figure, 20th – 14th century
terracotta
Private Collection

Makonde style, Unknown Artist, Mozambique
Stoppers, Second half of 20th century
wood
5 x 4 x 2 inches (12.7 x 10.2 x 5.1 cm)
Private Collecton

Lega style, Unknown Artist, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Fiber Hat (with European cast tin ornaments), 19th - early 20th century
fiber, tin, hornbill beak
23 x 8 x 8 inches (58.4 x 20.3 x 20.3 cm)
Private Collection

Hallway
Carolee Schneemann
Interior Scroll, photographic sequence of performative action, 1975
13 gelatin silver prints
14 x 11 inches (35.6 x 27.9 cm) each
edition of 7
CSc-1

Carolee Schneemann
Interior Scroll, 1975/1995
paper, cotton, tape with text
37 1/2 x 5 3/4 inches (95.3 x 14.6 cm)
CSc-2

Main Gallery (clockwise from left)

Gallery III (east gallery; clockwise from left)
A Different Affinity

Dan style, Unknown Artist, Liberia
Baboon Mask, 20th century
wood and hair
16 x 5 1/4 x 6 1/2 inches (40.6 x 13.3 x 16.5 cm)
Private Collection, New York
AFR-28

Adam Fuss
Untitled (African Mask), 2005
unique gelatin silver print photogram
paper: 20 1/2 x 15 3/4 inches (52.1 x 40 cm)
framed: 29 1/4 x 25 1/4 inches (74.3 x 64.1 cm)
Private Collection, New York
AF-1

Igbo style, Unknown Artist, Nigeria
Igbo Maiden Mask, 20th century
wood
24 x 7 1/2 x 13 inches (61 x 19.1 x 33 cm)
Private Collection, New York
AFR-43

Robert Mapplethorpe
Grace Jones, 1984
gelatin silver print,
image: 15 1/4 x 15 1/4 inches (38.7 x 38.7 cm)
paper: 20 x 16 inches (50.8 x 40.6 cm)
edition of 10 with 2 APs
MAP-1447

Marina Abramovic
untitled (Hematite pillow), 1994
Hematite, metal brackets, wood box and Lucite plaque
7 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches (19.1 x 11.4 x 11.4 cm) each
edition of 21 with 4 APs
MA-70.4

Zulu style, Unknown Artist, South Africa
Headrest, 19th century
wood
14 x 5 1/2 x 4 1/4 inches (35.6 x 14 x 10.8 cm)
AFR-50

Tsonga style, Unknown Artist, Mozambique
Headrest, 19th century
wood
6 1/4 x 5 1/4 x 2 1/2 inches (15.9 x 13.3 x 6.4 cm)
AFR-49

Los Carpinteros
Rio (Los Encantos de la Colectividad), 2002
watercolor on paper
paper: 60 x 84 1/4 inches (152.4 x 214 cm)
framed: 64 1/4 x 88 inches (163.2 x 223.5 cm)
LC-2

Gurunsi style, Unknown Artist, Burkina Faso
Dâgalo chair, 20th century
wood
30 1/2 x 11 1/2 x 44 inches (77.5 x 29.2 x 111.8 cm)
Collection of Michael Oliver
AFR-65

Gallery IV (south gallery; clockwise from left)
Beyond the Display Case/ Feitiço, Fetisso, Fetish/ Limits of Looking

Pedro Lasch
Naturalizations Masks (2 for Model N0, 1 for Model N5), 2003
laser cut acrylic mirror masks and Velcro straps
8 1/2 x 11 inches (21.6 x 27.9 cm)
PL-1a

Pedro Lasch
Naturalizations Masks (2 for Model N0, 1 for Model N5), 2003
laser cut acrylic mirror masks and Velcro straps
8 1/2 x 11 inches (21.6 x 27.9 cm)
PL-1b

Bwa style, Unknown Artist, Burkina Faso
Plank Mask, 20th century
wood and pigment
71 1/2 x 11 1/2 x 3/4 inches (181.6 x 29.2 x 1.9 cm)
Private Collection
AFR-76

Bwa style, Unknown Artist, Burkina Faso
Buffalo Mask, 20th century
wood and pigment
27 x 14 x 11 inches (68.6 x 35.6 x 27.9 cm)
Private Collection
AFR-77

Christopher Roy
Art as a Verb in Africa, 2005
video
dimensions variable
CRoy-1

Pedro Lasch
The Dance of Mirrors (Naturalizations Series), 2003
color video, duration 3 minutes
variable dimensions
edition of 12
PL-2

Kongo style, Unknown Artist, Democratic Republic of Congo
"Fetish," 19th century
hard wood, resin, fabric, metal, feathers, ceramic
14 x 4 x 5 1/2 inches (35.6 x 10.2 x 14 cm)
Collection of Maureen and Harold Zarember
AFR-61

Kongo style, Unknown Artist, Democratic Republic of Congo
"Fetish," 19th century
mixed media
12 1/2 x 7 x 7 inches (31.8 x 17.8 x 17.8 cm)
Collection of Maureen and Harold Zarember
AFR-62

Sarah Lucas
Nude #1, 1999
table, vest, knickers, 2 coconuts, brush
23 5/8 x 47 1/4 x 23 5/8 inches (60 x 120 x 60 cm)
SLu-1

Baule style, Unknown Artist, Ivory Coast
Bush Spirit, 19th – 20th century
wood
AFR-68

Gabriel Orozco
Cemetery (view 4), 2002
Fuji crystal chromogenic archive C-print
paper: 16 x 20 inches (40.6 x 50.8 cm)
edition of 5
GO-3

Jenne-jeno style, Unknown Artist (probably female), Mali
Pot, 800 - 1400 AD
fired earthenware
32 x 26 x 26 inches (81.3 x 66 x 66 cm)
AFR-54

Alfredo Jaar
Double Vision, 2005
lightbox with color transparency
49 x 97 x 5 1/4 inches (124.5 x 246.4 x 13.3 cm)
edition of 3
AJ-1004

Zambezi style, Unknown Artist, Zimbabwe
Kalimba Instruments, 20th century
one made from a sardine can, one made traditionally from wood
6.25 x 4.25 x 2 inches (sardine) 10.25 x 5 x 11.75 inches (wood)
Private Collection
AFR- 78a,b

Ephat Mujuru and Dumisani Maraire
The Kalimba Masters of the African Mbira
audio CD
Private Collection
CD-1

Northern Nigerian style, Unknown Artist, Nigeria
Magical object with two figures, 20th century
mixed media
9.75 x 5 x 2.25 inches
Private Collection
AFR-75

Kongo style, Unknown Artist, Democratic Republic of Congo
"Fetish" Dog, 19th century
wood, raffia, resin, mirror, textile, rust pigment
6.75 x 14 x 4.25 inches
AFR-60

Gavin Turk
Pile, 2004
painted bronze
27 9/16 x 64 3/16 x 43 5/16 inches (70 x 163 x 110 cm)
edition of 6
GT-9894

Ann Hamilton
untitled (body object series) #5, 1984; published 1991
black and white photograph, framed in artist rosewood frame
image: 4 3/8 x 4 3/8 inches (11.1 x 11.1 cm)
framed: 22 3/4 x 20 3/4 inches (57.8 x 52.7 cm)
edition of 10 with 4 APs
AH-13.5

Ann Hamilton
untitled (body object series) #13, 1984; published 1991
black and white photograph, framed in artist rosewood frame
image: 4 3/8 x 4 3/8 inches (11.1 x 11.1 cm)
framed: 22 3/4 x 20 3/4 inches (57.8 x 52.7 cm)
edition of 15 with 4 APs
AH-13.13

Ann Hamilton
scripted, 1997
gold, silver, horse hair,wood and glass box
3 1/2 x 33 1/2 x 7 1/2 inches
15 versions, 5 APs
AH-9

Songye style, Unknown Artist, Democratic Republic of Congo
"Fetish" Figure, 19th century
mixed media
9.5 x 3 x 2.5 inches
Private Collection
AFR-74

Gallery V (west gallery; clockwise from left)
Imagining Another

Baule style, Unknown Artist, Ivory Coast
Spirit Spouse, 19th – 20th century
wood
16 1/2 x 4 x 4 inches (41.9 x 10.2 x 10.2 cm)
AFR-67

Elizabeth Peyton
Piotr, 2003
oil on paper
84 x 38 inches (213.4 x 96.5 cm)
EP-1

Felix Gonzalez-Torres
Untitled (Lover Boys), 1991
blue and white candies, individually wrapped in cellophane
dimensions variable
FG-1

Thomas Ruff
Nudes yv16, 2000
laserchrome and diasec
61 x 43 1/4 inches (154.9 x 109.9 cm)
edition of 5
TRu-1

Baule style, Unknown Artist, Ivory Coast
Spirit Spouse, 19th – 20th century
wood
14 x 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches (35.6 x 8.9 x 8.9 cm)
AFR-46

Baule style, Unknown Artist, Ivory Coast
Spirit Spouse, 2nd half of the 20th century
wood and paint
11 x 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches (27.9 x 8.9 x 8.9 cm)
AFR-45

John Currin
Tropical Hospital, 1998
gouache on paper
12 x 8 1/8 inches (30.5 x 20.6 cm)
JoCu-2
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