Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Heroic Africans at the Met

I love the press previews at the Met and not just for the pistachio gelato eaten after. This Monday's exhibit was a reminder I used to passionately collect French Colonial stamps when I was 11-12... Heroic Africans: Legendary Leaders, Iconic Sculptures - Sept 21 - Jan 29, 2012 brought back memories. Those packets of exotic stamps cost only a few bucks but provided an escape route out of daily life to 'lands of many contrasts' with unpronounceable names. The sculptures in this show are classically iconic...They remind you of figures like this Etruscan goddess in the museum's west wing... The forms change dramatically region to region throughout Africa..
A twin flattened Cycladic head sits in a nearby gallery...
An African head almost plate-like, wimsical...
Did Picasso see these?
Exquisite Yoruba terra cotta heads almost certainly made by women..
The vertical facial striations could be shadows cast by strings of beads hanging from the base of a crown...
These classic forms cry out for a pencil and paper...
Only heads were recovered. Yet it's clear bodies were attached but lost - these are 16th century.
Where would the Cubists...
And Picasso's Demoiselles d'Avignon be without the influence of African sculpture?
Pierre Herme 75% chocolate statuette Code d'IvoireFrench chocolate master Pierre Herme made this 75% pure dark Ghanaian chocolate mask from a cote d'Ivoire statuette.
chocolate masks by Pierre Herme Part of his series of primative chocolate masks. They could easily be at the Met but one might be inclined to nibble...
Photo by Phyllis GalemboPhotos by Phyllis Galembo enrich the Mets show.
Some attendees dress appropriately for the Met preview. Or you could grab something in the gift shop and throw it on...
African singer, Angelique Kidjo will perform at the Met. She was at the preview. Click to hear her sing.


  1. Fantastic show - and I love your juxtapositions!
    I was never a stamp collector until about 10 years ago when I started buying those cheap bags full of stamps to use in collage - I love to see them all sorted by color!

  2. Lovely compilation of African art and influences
    Merci indeed

  3. Geri, NJ12:33 PM

    Beautiful post; thanks for the awesome clip!

  4. Very cool. Thanks for sharing!

  5. J'adore her music!!
    toute est magnifique

  6. Looks like an incredible exhibit! Can't wait to see it!

    P.S. Had my very first macaron from Laduree of all places. Now I finally understand what you've been talking about all these years! The best dessert of my life. I had pistachio and rose petal macarons. Simply divine!

  7. Carol, that was a great post! I love all of those sculptures and the stamps are beautiful. And the influence on Picasso seems evident, doesn't it! Gorgeous.

  8. These sculptures are fascinating, with those very clean lines !

    Did you get your pistaccio ice cream ? The tea room looks great indeed

  9. Your lady in the mud cloth...
    I had that outfit several years ago, Bought it in New Orleans. Only the scarf is left.

  10. Oh, my god, this show looks fantastic! I love the stamps and the busts....

  11. Facinating show and post. What would we do without you keeping us all up on all things cultural. Things I would never know about or see. Thanks.

  12. you're very welcome Cris
    What would I do without a blog?
    hangout at the movies all the time?

  13. Mmmm, Carol, I think that I will like this exhibit very much.

    Interesting that Ms Kidjo came to the press preview...did she hum a tune for you all? She is a fabulous performer.

    I do love stamps for their miniature art. You must know of the late artist Donald Evans, who created intricate stamp issues from imaginary countries. Size 2 sable watercolor brush was his passport.


  14. What a wonderful Change of pace, with these images, Carol. I can see why Picasso was fascinated with not only the visual, but the conceptual aspects of African, and what some naive folks think of as "primitive," art. Such sophistication can be found in most cultures throughout the world, and throughout history, I believe.
    And love the transition to one of your other favorite loves, chocolate.

  15. Ah oui, Picasso...but also Modigliani who loved African sculpture. Lovely post.

  16. Excellent art work and an excellent presentation by you!

  17. Wow!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!! For the glimpse of the fabulous exhibit, which I'd love to see, but, living in California, won't be able to, and for introducing me to the amazing Angelique Kidjo.

  18. Très intéressant. Some of these pieces would look quite comfortable at the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris. Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

  19. I was going to suggest that you go to the African Voodoo exhibition at the Cartier Foundation when you're in Paris, but I just checked and it ends this week.

    Thanks for showing the similarities with Picasso's work. Very interesting!

  20. Great post on a fascinating-looking exhibition! I wish I could hop over the pond to see this (wonder if it will travel?). You've made such interesting connections here that have really got me thinking ... merci bien.

  21. Great show!! Love it! xx

  22. Oh,how I'd love to zip up there for Angelique Kidjo's performance Oct 1! and that wonderful exhibit! (Alas, the goatie herdress is in the midst of fall vaccinations,hoof trimming,& workings of 15 goats!) Hope some year it will make it to Memphis, LR or Dallas? I really would love to see the elegant womens heads in person.Thank you for all the wonderful art, culture,places you take PBers!

  23. Thanks for taking us around the exhibition. Love the dress, too. You always have a great eye at noticing these things. Was that wall also made of chocolate? Perhaps not. Just excited after seeing the chocolate mask....


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