Subverting Beauty: African Anti-Aesthetics

From July 15, 2018 — November 17, 2019

4d15747a-4e84-41dc-b476-f004f0745d39 Subverting Beauty: African Anti-Aesthetics anti-aesthetics https://s3.amazonaws.com/artbma/images/exhibitions/large/antiAesthetics500.jpg https://s3.amazonaws.com/artbma/images/exhibitions/small/antiAesthetics500.jpg Kómó Society Helmet Mask (Kómókum). Manding or Miniakna peoples (Mali or Guinea). Early 20th century. Kómó Society Helmet Mask (Kómókum). Manding or Miniakna peoples (Mali or Guinea). Early 20th century. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Gift of Robert and Mary Cumming, Baltimore, BMA 1983.79 1 2018-07-15T00:00:00-04:00 2019-11-17T00:00:00-04:00 Free admission

Beauty stops us in our tracks. It makes us pause, look, consider. Sometimes it overwhelms us. We are often told art should aspire to this standard and be proportionate, symmetrical, naturalistic, and orderly. But what of work that is designed to revolt and terrify? Across subSaharan Africa, artists working across a range of states, societies, and cultures deliberately created artwork that violated conceptions of beauty, symmetry, and grace—both ours and theirs. Subverting Beauty features approximately two dozen works from sub-Saharan African’s colonial period (c.1880-c. 1960) that are accumulative, composite, crude, counterintuitive, and disproportionate. More importantly still, it explores the reasons why artists working during this turbulent period in the continent’s history turned against beauty in order to express the meaning and vitality of their day-to-day existence.

The exhibition is curated by Associate Curator of African Art Kevin Tervala.

This exhibition features approximately two dozen works from sub-Saharan African’s colonial period (c.1880-c. 1960) that are accumulative, composite, crude, counterintuitive, and disproportionate. More importantly still, it explores the reasons why artists working during this turbulent period in the continent’s history turned against beauty in order to express the meaning and vitality of their day-to-day existence.

. Manding or Miniakna peoples (Mali or Guinea). Early 20th century. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Gift of Robert and Mary Cumming, Baltimore, BMA 1983.79