Blue Line Orange Line
Africa ReViewed: The Photographic Legacy of Eliot Elisofon
Now - August 24, 2014
Sylvia H. Williams Gallery, Sublevel 1
This retrospective exhibition is the first in 40 years to celebrate the legacy of internationally renowned photojournalist Eliot Elisofon, who traveled to Africa on 11 expeditions to photograph its people and landscape for Life magazine. Elisofon became known as the first photographer to make post-war images of Africa and its leaders popular in American media. His photographs, collected objects, films, books, and journals virtually transport you to Africa during the mid-20th century. The exhibition celebrates the 40th anniversary of the museum's Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives.
Lines, Marks, and Drawings: Through the Lens of Roger Ballen
Now - February 9, 2014
A New York native who has lived in South Africa for 30 years, Roger Ballen (b. 1950) has been shooting black-and-white film for nearly a half-century. On view are 55 works and one video that trace Ballen's use of line and drawing in his photographs over the past four decades. His early vintage silver-gelatin photographs show a minimal approach to line. Selected works from Ballen's most recent series, Asylum of the Birds (2008-2014), show how the artist more directly integrates drawing into theatrical settings dominated by birds. Note: May contain adult content.
Earth Matters: Land as Material and Metaphor in the Arts of Africa
Now - January 5, 2014
Sublevel 2, Pavilion, outside in gardens
Earth Matters is the first major exhibition to examine the conceptually complex and visually rich relationship between African artists and the land upon which they live, walk, and frame their days. Approximately 100 artworks are on view in five thematic sections—the Material Earth, Power of the Earth, Imagining the Underground, Strategies of the Surface, and Art as Environmental Action. These categories provide vantage points from which to examine the most poignant relationships that Africans have with the land, whether it be to earth as a sacred or medicinal material or to earth as something exploited by mining or claimed by burial. For the first time, four artists create land-art installations in the Smithsonian gardens: Land Reform by Strijdom van der Merwe, Ala by El Anatsui, Hunger by Ghada Amer, and Land/Displacements by Ledelle Moe.
African Mosaic: Building a Collection
Like a colorful mosaic made from a thousand pieces of brilliant glass, African Mosaic features some 100 objects that represent 10 years of building a permanent collection and reflect the diversity and outstanding quality of Africa's arts. On view are a variety of objects from gold jewelry and wooden figures to a coffin in the shape of a cell phone.
Ceramics at the National Museum of African Art
Drawn from the museum's extensive collection of 140 ceramic works, on view are 14 vessels representing various regions of the African continent, including five objects that have never been exhibited in the museum. The vessels are representative of master potters, primarily women who display their dexterity by hand-building a variety of vessels. A few pieces from an important group of 85 vessels from Central Africa are on display, along with a beer container from the Chewa of Malawi, a water vessel from the Yoruba of Nigeria, and water and oil containers from the Berber of Algeria.
Serving as a welcome center, the pavilion features several contemporary and traditional objects, which are often on a large scale and rotated on a regular basis, to show a cross section of African art.