Archive for May 1, 2019

The Newark Museum @ 110 Part IV: Other Lands, Other Peoples

2017 New African Galleries 1

The Arts of Global Africa, 2017

Dana’s concept of objects of good design spanned the globe. They were part of an art of everyday life that took different forms at different times in different places. Collecting and displaying them gave local citizens insight into other lands and other peoples. Netsuke, inro, and ojime, along with other Japanese art objects, were acquired in 1909 when the City of Newark purchased the George T. Rockwell Collection. Upon the death of Edward N. Crane in 1911, the Museum acquired his collection of Tibetan art objects that included books, religious relics, clothing, weapons, and other household objects, as well as paintings and sculptures. In partnership with Dr. Albert L. Shelton, a missionary in Tibet, the Museum continued to acquire new objects throughout the 1910s and 1920s. Native American textiles, potteries, and baskets were on display in 1913 and again in 1927, and the exhibitions, Primitive African Art (1928) and Islands of the Pacific (1929), showcased domestic objects of innovative artistry, along with traditional objects in the fine and decorative arts. The Republic of Colombia (1918) promoted mutual understanding between the two countries though ordinary – and extraordinary – objects, and so did China: The Land and the People (1923). Perhaps the Homelands exhibition of 1916 was Dana’s most ambitious attempt to connect the citizens of Newark with citizens from around the world. This innovative exhibition had an educational component that encouraged schoolchildren to bring in objects from home that illustrated their parents’ or grandparents’ countries of origin.

1908 Rockwell Poster 1

Poster for the George T. Rockwell Collection, 1908

Today, the Arts of Asia are represented by over 600 objects on display in 20 permanent galleries. Chinese ceramics, textiles, enamels, lacquer wares and bronzes emphasize the rich history of this civilization. Prints, paintings, and sculpture from Japan, as well as decorative art objects demonstrate the amazing elegance of this island country’s artistic tradition and its ongoing cultural creativity. Korean art is represented by ceramics, costumes, and textiles, ranging from the Goguryeo Kingdom (37 BC – 668 AD) to the present today, with an emphasis on the Joseon Period (1392-1910). India and the subcontinent, along with southeast Asia and Oceania, form a “cultural crossroads” in which Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and even Islam and Christianity meet in dialogue with one another. The Tibetan Buddhist Altar, designed by the monastic-trained artist Phuntsok Dorje and consecrated by the Dalai Lama in 1990, remains the center of the Newark Museum’s astonishing Tibetan art collection, which includes objects in the fine arts and the decorative arts.

1928 Africa 5419

Primitive African Art, 1928

The Global Arts of Africa – a new installation on the first floor of the main building – opened in late fall of 2017. The works on view there highlight the breadth, diversity and vitality of artistic creativity throughout the continent. On view are objects of ritual, ceremonial and daily use, as well as popular urban art forms, studio portrait photography, and fine art works by internationally renowned artists. Outstanding examples include masks and figural sculpture, textiles and dress, pottery, jewelry, furniture, photography and paintings.  The works range from historic artifacts, primarily dating to the late 19th and early 20th century, to examples of contemporary artistic creativity.  The continental scope of the collection—especially its inclusion of art from northern, eastern and southern African countries—is a particular strength and is unmatched today by most art museums.

1949 Tibet 11591 Cuttings

Mr. & Mrs. C. Suydam Cutting in front of the original Tibetan Buddhist Altar, 1949

The remarkable history of the African art collection and the Asian art collection is told briefly in the exhibition, Promoting Books and Objects: Empowering Newarkers, which is on view on the third floor of the Newark Public Library from January 15 until August 31, 2019.

20xx Japanese Galleries

A visitor in the Japanese Galleries, ca.2010

William A. Peniston, Ph.D., Librarian/Archivist

Arts of Global Africa Gallery

Ayana V. Jackson in front of her photographs, Aina and Etta, 2017

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May 1, 2019 at 11:13 am Leave a comment


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