Thursday, September 5, 2013

New York Times on exhibition of Simon Ottenberg's collection

Just in case you missed this, I recommend this ongoing exhibition at the Newark Museum and the review of it by Holland Cotter of the New York Times. Though a modest show, as far as exhibitions go, it is a gem (you might say I am biased, given that I am among the exhibiting artists; but so be it!) in terms of its scope and the installation design. Congratulations to Perrin Lathrop who curated it; to Christa Clarke who oversaw the process of gifting of the collection to Newark; and of course to Simon Ottenberg who quietly put together the collection since the 1960s when many of the now venerable artists (like Bruce Onobrakpeya, Twins Seven-Seven, and Uche Okeke) had yet to become the established names they are today. The interesting thing is that he collected much of this work while on fieldwork as an anthropologist known world over for his scholarship on Afikpo masking traditions. For me, the highlight of the show is unquestionably Akinola Lasekan's enigmatic history painting, Ajaka of Owo (1944), below.

Image courtesy of the Newark Museum

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