The Nelson A. Rockefeller Vision: In Pursuit of the Best in the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

From the Americas, highlights in the exhibition will include: a 12th-9th century B.C.E ceramic “Baby” figure, which was a centerpiece of the landmark 1965 exhibition The Jaguar’s Children: Pre-Classic Central Mexico—the work’s acquisition during the course of the exhibition had a transformative impact on The Museum of Primitive Art’s pre-Columbian holdings; a vibrantly colored 14th-century feathered Inca tunic from Peru acquired in 1956; a 19th-century Tlingit knife from Alaska which was among the first objects from North America that Nelson Rockefeller purchased and kept in his home prior to donating it to The Museum of Primitive Art in 1959.  Oceanic highlights will include: one of only two dozen surviving examples of Solomon Island shields with mother of pearl inlay; a Mangareva Figure representing the Polynesian agricultural god Rago, considered the signature Oceanic work acquired by The Museum of Primitive Art; and an Abelam Yam Mask, a basketry genre from New Guinea collected in the  region by curator Douglas Newton considered among the most outstanding examples of a tradition in which enormous yams were exchanged in ceremonial competitions.  African highlights will include: a monumentalD’mba headdress from Guinea selected on the basis of its favorable comparison  with the one now at the Musée Quai Branly in Paris; Male and Female Poro Figures by a master from Ivory Coast that were featured in the 1963 landmark exhibition Senufo Sculpture from West Africa; and the epic creation of a Fang Master from Gabon: Sculptural Element from a Reliquary Ensemble (The Great Bieri).  Robert Goldwater, the director of The Museum of Primitive Art, advised Rockefeller on the acquisition of the latter work, considering it among the masterpieces of the history of art.

Exhibition Opening

Event Details:

  • When: 

    Monday, October 7, 2013

  • Where: 

    Metropolitan Museum of Art
    1000 Fifth Avenue
    New York, NY

  • More information: 

    Event website.

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