Public Viewings: Tuesday, November 12 and Wednesday, November 13, 11am-6 pm Thursday, November 14, 11am-12
Magdalene Odundo OBE is one of the world’s most esteemed artists working in the field of ceramics. This major exhibition will bring together more than 50 of Odundo’s works. They will be shown alongside a large selection of objects chosen by Odundo from across the globe and spanning 3000 years, to reveal the rich and diverse range of objects and making traditions that have informed the development of her own work. The Journey of Things at the Sainsbury Centre will allow Transition II to be presented in the context of Odundo’s ceramic practice.
For more than two millennia, ironworking has shaped African cultures in the most fundamental ways. Striking Iron: The Art of African Blacksmiths reveals the history of invention and technical sophistication that led African blacksmiths to transform one of Earth’s most basic natural resources into objects of life-changing utility, empowerment, prestige, spiritual potency, and astonishing artistry. Striking Iron is an international travelling exhibition organized by the Fowler Museum at UCLA that combines scholarship with objects of great aesthetic beauty to create the most comprehensive treatment of the blacksmith’s art in Africa to date. The exhibition includes over 225 artworks from across the African continent focusing on the region south of the Sahara and covering a time period spanning early archaeological evidence to the present day. Striking Iron features artworks from the Fowler collection as well as American and European public and private collections.
The Snite Museum of Art African art collection will reopen this fall within a larger, more prestigious space on the main floor of the Museum. The reinstallation will explore themes of power. In the past, African art was often tied into the way African leaders promoted their agendas. Royalty and rulers used art to project their authority; religious groups promoted their faiths; while the wealthy desired to display their riches. Ordinary Africans also used art to enable them to wield their own forms of power. Since supernatural forces were thought to play a large role in determining events, it was important to own objects that could withstand or shape events that lay beyond ordinary control. Fifty-nine outstanding works from the Snite Museum collection will illustrate these ideas through themes of economic, political, social, and spiritual power in Africa. Most of these works have never been on public view before. Nearly a third belong to the Owen D. Mort Jr. Collection, with art primarily from Democratic Republic of Congo, where Mort worked for many years. As he said, “My hope is to educate people on Africa. It’s been a great love of mine… Ideally Notre Dame would use the collection for education, to get interest going in Africa.”
Every Day: Selections from the Collection is the BMA’s first reinstallation of its contemporary collection centered on black artistic imagination. Nearly 50 works of painting, sculpture, video, printmaking, and photography from the BMA’s permanent collection, alongside a select group of loans primarily from the celebrated Pamela J. Joyner and Alfred J. Giuffrida Collection, foreground the critical contributions black artists have made to postwar visual art. Works by black American and African diasporic artists occupy anchor positions in the thematic reinstallation, emphasizing the ways in which these artists have shaped thinking and making in contemporary art. Themes explored include history, shape, material, gesture, self, ceremony, and violence. Every Day represents the BMA’s collection history, highlights new acquisitions purchased with proceeds from the auction of recently deaccessioned works, and continues the BMA’s efforts to build a more diverse and inclusive art experience for Baltimore.
Malick Sidibé (1935–2016), a famous Malian photographer, was granted the Hasselblad Award in 2003, among other prizes, and received a Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in 2007. He is the first artist to earn these two prestigious distinctions. The Musée Barbier-Mueller is paying tribute to this photographer, whose body of work the visitor will first discover through a dozen unpublished portraits, taken within the framework of a competition featuring songs against AIDS, organized in Mali by Monique Barbier-Mueller in 2005. Malick Sidibé photographed the finalists in the competition in front of the unchanging striped backdrop and black-and-white checked floor of his studio. These songs, which bear messages about preventing AIDS, were broadcast to the Malian population over regional radio stations and are retransmitted here. Better-known prints, displayed in the basement, bring the Mali of the 1960s–1970s back to life and bear witness to the kind, curious, and spirited gaze with which Malick Sidibé regarded his peers. The museum wishes to showcase Mali, while at the same time promoting its traditional arts. Extraordinary pieces, including pendants, ornaments and figurines, masks, seats, and statues belonging to the Soninke, Dogon, and Bamana peoples, to cite only a few, are thus exhibited on the mezzanine. Brought together in the museum for the first time, these works will show the artists’ admirable creativity, while opening a window on the many rites and beliefs they sustain.