Time and Tide: The changing art of the Asmat of New Guinea
Time and Tide: The changing art of the Asmat of New Guinea from the American Museum of Asmat Art at the University of St. Thomas
14 February - 14 June, 2009
Opening at Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA)
The exhibition Time and Tide: The Changing Art of the Asmat of New Guinea features seventy-two objects that focus on the distinct and powerful aesthetic sense of the Asmat people of southwestern New Guinea and its expression in a number of art forms, especially sculpture, fiber arts, and decorative painting. Featured artworks range from the ceremonial to the utilitarian—shields and spears, spirit masks, woven bags, drums, openwork carvings, and figural sculpture—each one conveying the exceptional graphic impact and sophistication of the Asmat aesthetic. The exhibition has been organized by the MIA in collaboration with the American Museum of Asmat Art at the University of St. Thomas, Saint Paul.
Time and Tide focuses chiefly on two of the many forms of Asmat art: wood sculpture and fiber art. Because the more ephemeral but equally important genres of Asmat music, dance, and painted body decoration are difficult to preserve and exhibit in a museum setting, the exhibition features work that takes durable physical form. The exhibition traces and illuminates visual and cultural themes illustrating the broad scope of Asmat creativity and also explores how their art has changed in recent years, as greater exposure to the larger world has led Asmat sculptors and weavers to absorb and adapt new ideas. A fully illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition.
For more information, please visit www.artsmia.org or www.stthomas.edu.