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Africa Explores: 20th Century African Art

Africa Explores: 20th Century African Art

Africa Explores: Twentieth Century African Art demonstrates the vitality of African art and culture today examining some of the major themes and artistic innovations in African art in the twentieth century.

This catalogue discusses how African artists have confronted and reinterpreted Western images and ideas in terms of their own ancient cultures, to create a vibrant mix of old artistic traditions and new techniques, forms, and ideas. The works are discussed in the context of Africa's past and present, revealing the works' sometimes surprising messages and challenging our ability to judge them according to Western artistic values.

The catalogue is organized according to five strains of art that can be found in sub-Saharan Africa today: Traditional Art, a largely village based art that continues an old form or an old function--or both; New Functional Art, made for new ideologies and new social groupings; Urban Art, commercial paintings for small businesses and also painting as "art to look at"; International Art, made by formally trained artists, or those working under the guidance of a European teacher/patron; and Extinct Art, traditional art no longer made or used that continues to have a strong presence as a symbol or an inspiration for artists. The essays in each chapter analyze all the forms of artistic expression that have been created in Africa since 1900, in terms of the social and political forces that have shaped them.

Exhibition catalogue by Susan Vogel, with contributions by Walter E. A. van Beek, Bogumil Jewsiewicki,  Ima Ebong, Donald John Cosentino, Thomas McEvilley, and V. Y. Mudimbe.

Published and distributed by The Center for African Art and Prestel, Munich, February 1991. 300 pp.
Cloth ISBN: 3-7913-1143-3. Paper ISBN: 0-945802-09-9 [OUT OF PRINT]. LCCN: 90-26683.