Traditional Arts of Africa, Oceania and The Americas in the Spotlight During New York Tribal Art Week 2014

  • NEW YORK, New York
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  • May 06, 2014

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Kongo Figure from the Allan Stone Collection at Sotheby's

Tribal Art will once again find itself in the spotlight during the prestigious, (5th Annual)  New York Tribal Art Week. Recognized as a must see destination for tribal collectors and aficionados, New York Tribal Art Week begins May 12th and runs through May 18th, 2014.

Interest in authentic art and artifacts from Africa, Oceania, the Americas and SE Asia is growing as prices for this material break records at the major auction houses. New York is at the heart of all of this because historically, New Yorkers have been among the foremost collectors of tribal art. New York politicians, artists, business leaders, professionals, fashion moguls and celebrities such as Helena Rubinstein, Nelson Rockefeller, Andy Warhol, John Friede, Armand Arman and Robert Mapplethorpe have solidified the international tribal art market.


First, there is the excitement leading up to the auction at Sotheby's, who will auction off the second (and last) volume of The Collection of Allan Stone on May 16 in New York. Following the success of Volume One, which was met with enthusiastic interest by an unprecedented number of art collectors from North and South America, Europe, and Asia in November 2013, Volume Two will feature a selection of African, Pre-Columbian, and American Indian Art of comparable quality, number and variety to the first offering.

Next there is the Bonhams sale of African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian Art on the 15th of May. This sale is lead by an important and rare wooden Maori Handclub 'wahaika' from New Zealand, formerly in the James Hooper Collection, (est. $50,000-70,000). Maori handclubs were historically used by warriors in hand to hand combat. This particular club, likely dating from the 18th century or earlier, was purchased by Hooper in Surrey in 1948 and published in "Art and Artefacts of the Pacific, Africa and the Americas: The James Hooper Collection," London, 1976. It is a finely stone-carved example in classic form, in large proportion, with janus tiki faces on its handle and an exquisite tiki with intricate curvilinear designs and openwork carving above the handle that is pierced through for attachment of cordage.

Cassera-Kilgore, Ancient-Future at Galerie Mourlot

The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas (AAOA) will celebrate the genesis of its permanent collection with a special exhibition that runs through October 5th, 2014. The Nelson A. Rockefeller Vision: In Pursuit of the Best in the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas is organized to mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of The Museum of Primitive Art, the direct precursor to the Metropolitan's Department of AAOA. The Museum of Primitive Art was a pioneering cultural institution that featured Nelson Rockefeller's non-Western art collection. The announcement by Rockefeller of an agreement to transfer his collection to the Metropolitan Museum was made in 1969 and in January 1982 the Michael C. Rockefeller Wing opened to the public.

The MET is also featuring Lost Kingdoms, Hindu-Buddhist Sculpture of Early Southeast Asia, 5th to 8th Century, from April 14–July 27, 2014. This is the first international loan exhibition to explore the sculptural art produced in the earliest kingdoms of Southeast Asia. From the first millennium onward, powerful kingdoms emerged in the region, embracing much of Indic culture to give political and religious expression to their identities. Early Hinduism (Brahmanism) and Buddhism arrived early, first witnessed by Sanskrit inscriptions, and shortly thereafter by a proliferation of large-scale religious imagery.

The Brooklyn Museum's Long-Term Installation 'African Innovations' in the South Gallery, 1st floor is a complete reinstallation of roughly 200 works from the Brooklyn Museum’s world-renowned collection of African art, African Innovations is organized with a particular focus on the aesthetic, social, political, and cosmological problems addressed by African artists through their work. A dynamic and diverse range of objects that includes wood sculpture, metal casting, terracotta, textiles, and beadwork, African art has a long history of adaptation to and exchange with cultures near and far.

Maori Handclub, Bonhams

Marking the first time that the Museum’s African collection has been arranged chronologically, African Innovations invites the visitor to examine the continent’s long record of artistic excellence, extending from ancient times through the present day.The installation stretches over some 2,500 years, from masterworks of ancient Nubia and Nok to contemporary pieces from the twenty-first century. Art from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, which comprises the majority of the collection, will be considered according to five themes: protection, transitions, authority, masquerade, and personal beauty. A concluding section, the Museum’s first dedicated space for contemporary African works, will contain pieces by artists such as Viyé Diba, Magdalene Odundo, and Yinka Shonibare. Each of these artists claims a part in African art history while drawing on global perspectives—thus continuing the ongoing history of African innovation.

Aside from the major museums and auctions, the gallery scene is also thriving and there are many exhibitions and group shows to take in as well.


'Ancient Future', an exhibition by David Cassera, who specializes in traditional African, Oceanic and Northwest Coast objects of art joined forces with Galerie Mourlot, a descendent of Atelier Mourlot, which became famous for assisting Matisse, Braque, Bonnard, Rouault and Joan Miró in the creation of important lithographs. In 1945, Pablo Picasso elected the Mourlot studio for his return to the lithographic medium. Understanding how the artistic styles of these infamous artists were influenced by traditional tribal sculpture is important in the history of modern and contemporary art.

Cassera will also feature contemporary master works by celebrity fine artist Michael Kilgore, who became a Fine Art Major at the age of twelve, inspired by the relationship between lines, shapes and proportions. His mentors included Michelangelo, Romare Bearden, Picasso, Matisse, Basquiat, Rene Magritte and Modigliani... His sense of color, from Yves St. Laurent - in the fashion world, he is known as "Mikel Kilgour" an international couture designer of both, womenswear & menswear for an elite clientele. Collectors of his Fine Art interpretations are inclusive of Ryan Seacrest, Janet Jackson, Kenny Lattimore, Debbie Allen, "Diddy", Constance White, Dave Winfield & Earvin "Magic" Johnson, the host of two "exclusive" Art exhibits in Beverly Hills, California. To add, a myriad of private collectors - east coast to west coast.

The OPENING RECEPTION is Wednesday, May 14th, from 6:00pm - 8pm. RSVP required


Other participants exhibiting in their respective galleries include; Pace Primitive (32 E. 57th St.), Art For Eternity (303 E. 81st St.), Fernandez Leventhal (by appointment), Arte Primitivo (3 E. 65th St.), Nasser & Co (120 E. 73rd St. Apt 6B), Alaska On Madison (1065 Madison Ave), Throckmorton Fine Art (45 E 57th St), & David Bernstein (By appointment 355 East 72nd Street - Suite 16E)

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