it difficult to write my review this year since at this point the show doesn't
need reviewing but needs "reviving". If more customers don't
start attending this show and spending money, it faces an uncertain future
(in my humble opinion).
As I've written
before, this show is going through a period of "adjustment" mostly because
of the economy, resulting in issues with attendance, buyer apathy, and
dealers not signing up to exhibit. I had hoped the issues it was
having could be resolved and it would have found its equilibrium point by
now. But the "economy" is STILL all encompassing for most
dealers and their customers these days.
the media says, there is no economic recovery and for
perspective, the number of people in the U.S. on "food stamps" has swelled
to nearly 50 million (equal to the population of Spain or South Korea).
Also, 8.5 million people have lost their jobs in the last 5 years which is like
having all of New York City out of the labor force. That's a
serious impact and explains why the prices for Tribal Art in the middle market
are down so sharply. As I keep saying it is a great time to buy.
current environment, there was not only a raging Tribal show in San
Francisco but also a thriving Asian show. In fact, not long ago the
San Francisco Asian Art Show had far more attendance than the Tribal Show.
Now that show doesn't exist. Yes, the Asian Art show held the prior week
was cancelled. So, some dealers from that show were combined into a
single show now. The billing also changed and it is now promoted
as "Tribal & Textile Arts Show, Fine Art of Native Cultures".
The tribal show already had an overly broad mix of dealers and now that has been
expanded further. You decide if that is a good thing?
Also at the
Fort Mason complex was an "independent" African Art exhibit produced by
dealer Andrew Berz. The exhibit was held in the large Fleet Room and
the pieces were high quality. The exhibit was ambitious and large
scale. The opening night was well attended but afterwards it looked
like you could land a helicopter in there (a little too much space).
Andrew explained that photos were not possible since he has a customer who
refuses to buy an object if it is seen on the internet...
To avoid being
redundant, below are links to previous reviews where most aspects of this
show have already been covered:
The 2012 San Francisco
The 2011 San Francisco
check out some photos. Note: these images only represent a small
sampling of dealers and pieces found at the show. I'm only serving you
"one drop" from the soup bowl.
For years now, New
Guinea collectors Sam and Sharon singer have graciously hosted an invitation
party in their home before the kick off of the San Francisco show.
Their house is a shoe-free-zone and this hilarious sign was posted on the
front door. Apparently Wayne Heathcote doesn't remove his shoes for anyone!
Two things can be
concluded from this photo: 1) Its late and most people had already
left and 2) the "fashion police" were not in attendance to hand out
Kevin Conru was in great form again this year, keeping the quality of the
offerings at a high level.
(Kevin Conru) Solomon Island Figure
(Conru) with a large South African Milk container. His assistant
standing next to it for scale.
Fily Keita (Los Angeles) with a handsome Lwena prestige Staff/ spear from
(Fily Keita) Also
with this fine Ngbaka mask
David Zemanek (Zemanek-Munster Auction) Wurzburg German
Zemanek, with a unique Cameroon mask (Bamileke) with projecting
detail of mask
Galen Lowe Art and Antiques Seattle
Thomas Murray, Mill Valley CA
Murray cont. Display case with Indonesian gems
Murray cont. collection of stone Celts from various cultures
Murray cont. getting ready to unroll a carpet. Look at the
size of that Sumba stone disk-- forklift.com?!
Joel Cooner next to a signed Paul Jacoulet woodblock print (Title: Femme
Tatouee De Falalap Ouest Carolines). Note how Joel
selected a wood frame to mimic the tattooing on woman's arms.
Detail of above
My man Tad Dale (Santa Fe NM) poses for a quick photo as his booth is
(Tad Dale Cont.)
with a lovely old Luba Stool
(Tad Dale Cont.)
(Tad Dale Cont.)
Vicki Shiba, Mill Valley CA
(Vicki Shiba cont.) In the corner of her booth she had this early
Middle Sepik replacement wood head which caught my attention
Patrick Mestdagh (Brussels), next to a fabulous Kenyan Luo shield. Bob
Dowling, San Francisco (right).
(Mestdagh cont.) These are scarce and in fact I've never owned one of
these Nomaic Tuareg War shields yet
Michael Hamson's booth, Michael's wife Darcel (right) and Christina Hellmich
(De Young Curator of the Jolika Collection)
This year Hamson's
booth contained New Guinea pieces from the collections of noted field collectors:
Douglas Newton, Harry Beran, Thomas Schultze-Westrum
(Hamson) Papuan Gulf Gope Board with a great nose
Impressive Massim Trobriand Island Adze
Collection of Massim Lime Spatulas from Harry Beran
In the foyer of
the show inside Festival Pavilion was an exhibit on Indian Textiles which I
think were published in the book below. Okay, fine, very nice... but
in my opinion a display that reflected tribal rather than ethnographic soft
goods would be a nice balance. Gosh, its been 10 years since they've had a shield exhibit (or wood
sculpture for that matter) which can be just as graphic and is a more
exciting introduction to the show.
(Milan) A fine Tibetan head of Buddhist sage guru Padmasambava, possibly
(Dalton Somare cont.) Leonardo Vigorelli and Zena Kruzick standing next to a
5 foot tall sandstone Bodhisattva from Afghanistan 4th-5th century.
(Dalton Somare cont.) Fang Figure
Jerry Bock Splenders of the world with a couple cheerful gals. We'll
be meeting up with Jerry again later
James Barker (Santa Fe NM) with a good display of Irian Jaya woven bags
(Barker's booth cont.) That's Carrie Haley who offers Art collection
services and management
Booth (Santa Fe NM). That's Alice Kaufmann in the center who makes
ATADA (Antique Tribal Art Dealers Association) and its Newsletter run.
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