Indepth Arts News: |
"Oceanic Exhibit Opens"
2000-08-12 until 2000-09-30
San Antonio Museum of Art
San Antonio, TX,
USA United States of America
These days, the elevator that takes you to the fourth
floor of the Museum's west wing also transports you
half way around the world. A new gallery devoted to
Oceanic art officially opened on the Museum's top
floor on August 12, and it is brimming with treasures
from the cultures of the Pacific Islands. More than
80 objects dating from the nineteenth and twentieth
centuries are on display from areas of Australia, New
Zealand, New Guinea, Melanesia, Micronesia,
Polynesia and the Hawaiian Islands.
The objects in the new gallery are a part of the
Museum's permanent collection, and that is big news
for several reasons. The exhibition of the Oceanic
works means the Museum is one step closer to its
goal of building a comprehensive collection of the art
of the world's civilizations. It also means the
Museum has earned a new distinction: It is one of
the primary places in the region to view Oceanic art,
thanks to the size and caliber of this collection.
When you visit, expect to be fascinated-and
educated-by what you read as well as by what you
see. While installing the gallery, Advisory Curator
Joseph M. Bravo was determined to present the
objects in their original context and to maintain a
genuine regard for the people who created them. In
so doing, he hopes to have made it easier for visitors
to do what Westerners have struggled to do for
centuries: understand the purpose and meaning of
As a result, a visit to the gallery will offer more than
just the opportunity to view bark paintings, intricately
carved weapons, decorative ceremonial masks and
more. A visit will also inform you of such things as
why the wooden orator's pulpit (or Teket) is
regarded as a prestigious treasure to the people of
New Guinea, and why the male ancestor figure (or Moai Kava-Kava) from Easter
Island is carved with such incredible detail.
The Oceanic collection is primarily the gift of long-time Museum of Art Trustee
Gilbert M. Denman, Jr., who began forming the collection while serving with the U.S.
Navy in World War II. The gallery is also made possible by generous grants from the
Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation and Mr. Denman.