new-york

“Western Artists/African Art”

Museum for African Art

The “white cube” exhibition style eliminated context and focused attention on the objects, which were then supposed to enter the viewer’s field of pure sensibility completely free of associations. Recently, how­ever, the belief in such a sensibility, or in the possibility of experience without associations, has waned. Artworks, like every­ thing else, seem embedded in webs of mediation, a condition that many recent exhibitions have attempted to address.

Curated by Daniel Shapiro, “Western Artists/African Art” presented 46 objects, mostly examples of traditional African art, from the collections of 28 living artists­—ranging from Arman to Brice Marden to Howardena Pindell—along with statements by the Western artists and tiny reproductions of their own work. In most cases there was little visual relationship between the work collected and the work made by the contemporary artists,

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