Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Kuba Textiles Online

The LACMA website is now showing a sampling of the museum's new trove of Kuba textiles. The site also reveals the collection's source, the Belgian artist Georges Meurant, a geometric abstractionist and author of Shoowa Design: African Textiles from the Kingdom of Kuba. LACMA bought Meurant's 117-piece collection this May for a reported $450,000. Meurant, a mid-career artist (born 1948) falls into a long tradition of western painters who found inspiration in Kuba textiles, among them Klimt, Matisse, and Klee. (Above, a Shoowa ceremonial panel in the collection, late 19th or early 20th century. Left, an untitled 2008 oil by Meurant.)
Don't hold your breath waiting for a non-virtual look at Meurant's collection. In 2008 LACMA initiated a small installation of African art at a prominent location next to the plaza entrance of the Ahmanson Building. Deputy director Nancy Thomas promised it was "the start of a long-term permanent program for African art at LACMA," with loans from the Fowler and annual rotations. But after that first show closed, the room began showing European and American design. Whatever happened to African art?

1 comment:

Donald Frazell said...

Beautiful work, though this guys paintings dont really have much african feel or complex rhythm to it. I have a piece over at Barnsdall right now based on Coltranes Africa Brass that has some of these very structures and polyrhythms inbuilt, but dont recall ever having seen these works before. Must have somewhere, got Kente cloth patterns in them I knew of, or at least inspired by to make an equivalent of the music.

LACMA has been doing better lately, buying excellent asian art and getting a new photo and drawing director who actually is qualified and knows her stuff. Silly conceptual nonsense had to go, when we are the home of f64 and the best modern photography in the world, from The Westons on, hope they have a Brett Weston show, very underrated. And contemporaneous with similar work I was doing in the late 70s, til I switched to painting. Photo has been all downhill since, all academic doodlings.

LACMA has been concentrating on Latin art, which is great because much of the best work of the last few decades have been latino artists, from here in LA in Carlos Almaraz through Mexico with Tamayo down to many in Cuba to Argentina. about time they went for qulaity rather than fashion.

That contempt stuff is all played out, was never anything to it but marketing and speculation, fashion is NOT art. They are complementary opposites, need both but always beware when sold as being gthe same, they cant be, its just dated fashion, but thats what they teach these days, ignorance of the past, and the purpose of creative art. And the seperation of other forms such as fine art and ilustration and selfexpressive childish finger paintings, thats therapy, for kids, not adults.

So we need to put pressure to show this African treasure, and all else they have. We need to get back to basics, and these are fantastic, as important as any other cultural art, from Euro Renaissance to Khmer sculpture.

This is a huge part of Modern art, it gave the structure and rhythm of life to it, where Euro art had none, as with its music, all melodya dn ahrmony. Combined and in growing from with beautiufl African adn other melodies(line) we got jazz and modern art. World art, about humanity. Not the whiny individual. Lets get back to it, we must focus on the basics, and this is defintely one of them.

The age of Meism and Excess is over.
art collegia delenda est