New Exhibits at the MET and the Morgan
African Art at the MET
If you like African art, then you’re in luck. The Metropolitan is having a great exhibit, “Focus on Artistic Legacy of Africa’s Sahel.” Africa’s western Sahel—a vast area on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert, spanning what is today Senegal, Mali, Mauitania and Niger—was the birthplace of a succession of influential states fueled by regional and global trade networks.
Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara is the first exhibition to trace the cultural legacy of the region, including the legendary empires of Ghana, Mali, Songhay and Segu spanning 300 to the 1800s. Some of these artistic works are truly spectacular working in wood, stone, dyed textiles, bronze and gold. It celebrates the extraordinary, though relatively unfamiliar, cultural traditions of the western Sahel.
It brings into focus such transformative moments as the development of urbanism, the rise and fall of political dynasties and the arrival of islam. There are excerpts from film documentaries that I found particularly interesting. It’s on until May so you have plenty of time to see it. Get the details.
Alfred Jarry and Jean-Jacques Lequeu at the Morgan
I just returned from two wonderful exhibits at the Morgan Library and Museum and you must see it. You must. They are so good.
The first is Alfred Jarry which explores the iconoclastic works and personality of the French writer (1873-1907). The Carnival of Being considers Jarry’s seminal role in the radical upheaval in the arts more than a century ago. He was an inspiration for Dada and Surrealism and the Theater of the Absurd. He was a puppeteer, a critic, a novelist, an artist and a bicycle fanatic. The exhibition Explores his innovations with printed matter and the graphic arts. During his life he was well known and admired by such friends and contemporaries a Paul Gauguin, Henri Rousseau, Oscar Wilde and Apollinaire. Many of their works are also exhibited.
This brings me to the work of Jean-Jacques Lequeu, “Drawings from the Bibliotheque Nationale De France.” I love Liqueu’s work. Many of his meticulous drawings in pen and wash include self-portraits. There is a painting of him yawning “The Great Yawn” and “He Sticks Out his Tongue”
Where, you guessed it, he is sticking out his tongue. Liqueu started as an architect and included are highly detailed renderings of buildings and imaginary monuments populating invented landscapes. Solitary and obsessive, he created the fantastic worlds shown in his drawings without ever leaving his studio and enriched them with characters and stories drawn from his library.
This is so enjoyable—you must see it. You have until May.
Miriam Silverberg is a freelance journalist and owner of Miriam Silverberg Associates, a boutique Publicity firm in Manhattan. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org