On Display in the Walled City features 38 objects from the Fowler Museum’s famed Wellcome Collection, which were acquired out of the Nigerian Pavilion during the British Empire Exhibition in Wembley, 1924–1925. Nearly twenty Nigerian men and women were invited to participate as artists in the Exhibition, which showcased British wealth and supremacy while simultaneously stimulating trade with and amongst its various colonies. The artists’ families lived in the “Walled City,” where the Nigerian Pavilion was located, and demonstrated their craft daily to public visitors. The Fowler’s presentation includes a model of the royal altar for Oba Ovonramwen from the Kingdom of Benin, various ritual and domestic objects made by Yoruba, Igbo, Fulani, and Kanuri artists as well as entry doors, carved on site, from the homes where artists lived. On Display in the Walled City gives the Fowler an opportunity to share some of the research it is doing on its Wellcome Collection (donated to the museum in 1965 by the Wellcome Trust in London) and to offer new insights into the colonial enterprise in Nigeria. This exhibition is organized by the Fowler Museum at UCLA and is curated by Erica P. Jones, Associate Curator of African Arts.
A pioneer in the history of contemporary American art and sculpture, Melvin Edwards (American, b. 1937) has influenced generations of artistic giants with his innovative formal genius and deep political commitment. This exhibition highlights the African roots of his dynamic, muscular abstraction by placing a small selection of works from the BMA’s world-class collection of African art in dialogue with 16 works that span four decades of Edwards’ career. The artist, who is the great-great-great grandson of a West African blacksmith, has lived, taught, and traveled throughout Africa since the early 1970s, forming relationships with artists, students, and politicians in 16 countries. In doing so, he discovered a relationship between his work and that of African blacksmiths and carvers, past and present. The 20+ objects in this exhibition showcase the formal corroborations Edwards found in Africa and highlight the importance of the African continent in the development of American art. Edwards’ work has been widely exhibited nationally and internationally and is represented in numerous collections at prestigious institutions. In 1993, the Neuberger Museum of Art organized Melvin Edwards Sculpture: A Thirty-Year Retrospective 1963–1993. In 2015, the Nasher Sculpture Center organized a second retrospective, Melvin Edwards: Five Decades. Edwards has had a longstanding commitment to public art, working on projects for public housing and universities since the 1960s.
No exhibition has yet paid homage to Félix Fénéon (1861-1944), an important figure in the artistic world in the late 19th and early 20th century. The Musée de l’Orangerie, in association with the musée du quai Branly-Jacques Chirac and The Museum of Modern Art, New York, is honouring this extraordinary man who remains unjustly unknown. The exhibition will demonstrate the different facets of this unusual character, with his Quaker-like appearance and deadpan humour, who combined an exemplary career as a civil servant with strong artistic and anarchist convictions. Columnist, editor at the Revue Blanche, art critic, publisher - he published Rimbaud’s ‘Illuminations’ -, and gallery owner, Fénéon was also an exceptional collector who amassed a large number of masterpieces including a unique set of African and Oceanian sculptures. The exhibition will bring together an exceptional array of paintings and drawings by Seurat, Signac, Degas, Bonnard, Modigliani, Matisse, Derain, Severini, Balla, etc., pieces from Africa and Oceania, as well as documents and archives.
Journey along the Sahara Desert’s trade routes during a time when West African gold directly impacted and connected peoples and cultures, arts and beliefs across continents. Experience the first major exhibition to reveal the shared history of West Africa, North Africa, the Middle East, and Europe from the 8th to 16th centuries and see more than 250 artworks, many shown in North America for the first time.
For the first time, the exhibition presents objects and photographs brought back from the Congo in 1938/39 by the art ethnologist Hans Himmelheber: colorful masks, powerful figures and artfully designed everyday objects. This contrasts with contemporary positions of renowned Congolese artists.
Taking its name from a 1970’s feminist anthem, I Am… Contemporary Women Artists of Africa draws upon a selection of artworks by women artists from the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art’s permanent collection to reveal a more contemporary feminism that recognizes the contributions of women to the most pressing issues of their times. With experimental and sophisticated use of diverse media, the 27 featured artists offer insightful and visually stunning approaches to matters of community, faith, the environment, politics, colonial encounters, racism, identity, and more.