It is a privilege for the Guggenheim Museum to celebrate the extraordinary contribution of the African continent to the world's visual culture.
This exhibition includes works ranging from the tools and rock art of early humankind to objects produced well into the twentieth century. While the primary emphasis in the selection has been aesthetic, the installation presents the works of art in a geog raphical and historical context and offers descriptions of their cultural uses and symbolic meanings insofar as these are known to scholars.
In exploring the rich variety of African artworks, the visitor will note that certain patterns of meaning and use occur again and again over much of the African continent. Indeed, many of the themes and forms presented here-including images of woman and c hild, memorial statuary, symbols of status and prestige, shrine objects, and works associated with initiation-are found in nearly all world civilizations throughout most of history. Also evident in all sections of the show are items of personal use-textil es, ceramics, furniture-craft objects in origin, perhaps, but frequently works of exceptional aesthetic merit.
As with all exhibitions, this exploration of the arts of the African continent is a construction. It reflects the ideas and attitudes-aesthetic, historical, and cultural-of the curators who selected and organized the works of art and the scholars who comp osed the explanatory labels and captions. It is our hope that this presentation will encourage many further explorations of a rich and varied subject.
The Cover Page with Table of Contents
Sahel and Savanna
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