The Greatest of Oceanic Art: Arguing Aesthetics

  • The Greatest of Oceanic Art: Arguing Aesthetics
    International Experts Illuminate and Discuss Favorite Unseen Masterpieces 
    10am, Sunday, February 21, The Firehouse, Fort Mason Center, San Francisco

    Watch the first of Friends of Ethnic Art’s Lecture and Panel Series posted on YouTube

    Mark Blackburn, collector
    Chris Boylan, dealer
    Michael Hamson, field collector and dealer
    Christina Hellmich, the de Young Museum’s Curator in Charge of Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas
    Christian Kaufmann,  former curator for Oceania at the Museum der Kulturen Basel
    Eric Kjellgren, former Metropolitan Museum of Art  Curator for Oceanic Art
    Caroline Yacoe, dealer and film maker
    Sam Singer, a long time collector will co-moderate with
    Dave DeRoche, FEA Board Member, collector and dealer

The annual February Friends of Ethnic Art event is on the last day of the San Francisco Tribal and Textile Arts Show. By that time, art lovers and collectors have had time (Thursday night Opening Reception, Friday & Saturday open all day 11-7) to tour the show, exhibiting dealers are relaxed and over their pre-show set-up and stress, and East Coast and European visitors have recovered from jet lag and partying. Wise locals know that 10AM is the only time when they can park easily and close.

This year’s FEA presentation is innovative and unique. Discussion will feature projection and analysis of rare masterworks, from god- and ancestor-honoring statues and ceremonial dance masks to textiles, weapons, artifacts, and jewelry. Friends of Ethnic Art has enlisted a remarkable grouping of collectors and curators, dealers and discoverers, art historians and anthropologists: an internationally renowned panel representative of the disparate persons who love and study and handle Oceanic art. They were chosen for their “good eye” for aesthetics, their exceptional knowledge of all facets of, or special regions of, Oceanic art — Polynesia, Melanesia, Micronesia, the South Pacific from New Guinea to Hawaii — and their ability to speak insightfully and originally. Expect to enjoy expertise, eloquence, perhaps egotism, and eye candy, ranging from the elegance of Polynesian art to the power and Surrealism of Melanesian art. Aesthetics will be analyzed and argued. You’ll see different visions and hear different points of view.

The panelists will identify each piece as to what it is and what Pacific culture it is from. Many of these objects are in lesser-seen museums and institutions, or the rarest books, or the dusty shelves of old private collections. But Why did that expert choose that piece? Panelists will lead the audience into really seeing and comprehending the sculptor’s success in imbuing great power in a figure or a mask, or capturing great shape and form in a club or a charm, or creating wondrously abstract designs on a shield or a churinga. The entire panel will be able to praise or puncture their choices, and the audience will form their own, very personal, opinions.

The floor will then be open for comments, comparisons, and critiques.
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Produced by Friends of Ethnic Art and Dave DeRoche