The show looked
very attractive as always, but in a perfect
world would be scheduled for a dryer month like April for
example... February is historically the wettest month for the Bay Area
which I feel affects attendance most years. You practically need to be
a diehard art lover to journey to San Francisco's Fort Mason during rain
storms. The exhibitors must set up and break down their exhibits in
the rain as well, which can make the experience less than pleasant.
As a general
rule many of the tribal dealer's booths are located in the front half of the
venue. As you strolled past the food court however, the show became disjointed and
an mishmash of dealers selling other-than-tribal-items, which I don't
cover here. Tribal dealers that are still located in the back should try to reposition themselves
forward, in my opinion.
status of the current "market" climate, you can read my previous
reviews which discuss that at length. Little has changed economically so there is no point in being
links to 3
previous reviews: 2013
The venue lost
a few more key dealers this year including Dalton Somare' (Milan Italy),
Joris Visser (Brussels), Marcuson & Hall (Brussels), Kevin Conru
(Brussels), and Christopher Selser (Santa Fe- NM). There were no French dealers
exhibiting this year.
Gallery Flak in Paris was last to leave the show two years ago.
of dealers pretty much mirrored the "market" at that moment in time in San
Francisco. When there was a stronger market (not too long ago), we would correspondingly see
more top dealers entering the show with strong material. It may
be that the show cannot afford to lose anymore European dealers and still
maintain its perception of quality. In the past European dealers
would buy from American and other dealers, which was positive. With
the quality they often bring, they satisfy many a collector's appetite
for great material. As it stands the European dealers may need to be
lured back by the promoters. The euro is high creating a disincentive
to sell in dollars and the show costs them around $10K or more (Booth,
noted or was told that staff from every auction house in the States were there except
Sotheby's. Also in attendance were local museum curators as well as
others from around the country.
Many dealers who
have exhibited here a decade or more, said they would be satisfied if they
sold half or even a third of the sales they had prior to 2008. From the "sales aspect" there is a rotation of success and pain at this
show. One year might be good and the next bad. It is never consistently
good, unless you have very loyal adoring customers (two dealers -only- come
to mind). From what I could tell, the dealers who have
stuck in there year in and year out are now being rewarding with business,
since many of the familiar names and key players are out. In terms of
high value sales I only heard of one. I could be wrong
but I feel their were few sales over the $25K range.
night, hosted by the De Young, is an impressive shindig but seldom
translates to sales for most dealers. Dealers get frustrated watching
people hardly leave the food court. Who can blame them for $150 ticket
though. For most people that attend, it is not about art but about
schmoozing, food and drink which is damn good, btw. In my view it is all about sales
for the dealers however. I think the best way to boost sales for them
would be to diminish or eliminate the lavish Thursday opening event and open
the show to everyone on Friday morning for $10. There would be much
more excitement, pent up demand, lines to get in, and yes even competition
between customers which directly benefits the exhibitors.
Keeping it positive I really
enjoy "shopping" at the show instead of covering it.
There were some great quality things there for reasonable prices. Some of the astute non-exhibiting
French dealers were making purchases and enjoying
the strength of the Euro, but not many.
check out some photos. Note: these images only represent a small
sampling of dealers and pieces found at the show. I'm just serving you
a "spoon" from the soup bowl.
Dimondstein with a nice selection of shields on his outside wall
Tribal Art: Yaka Initiation mask, Published: "African Art
in American Collections"
with a male figure from Eastern Nigeria (Cross River) Mbembe
Tribal Art with a 19th C. Southeast Asian Lute/ guitair (Illustrated in
the show catalog)
Tribal Art with an expressive Batak "Datu's" staff from Sumatra
Kalina and Jerry Boch
Kalina and Jerry Boch
Nierijnck/ Karavanseri (Maastricht)
Nierijnck/ Karavanseri (Maastricht)
Flores Mask, Old Dutch collection
Revees/ Tribal Gatherings London with a Sukuma
mask costume, Tanzania. Ex. Walter Hekster collection- published
of Chris Boylan Sydney. Me standing next to a large New Guinea Upper
Sepik Washkuk Yena figure
Willis with an Akan maternity figure from the Ivory Coast
Shiba (opening night) discussing an Indonesian ritual Sarong from the Ngada
people of Central Flores. A wide selection of masks too.
Shiba. 19th C. Ojibwa Indian sacred post marker.
DeRoche and Jo De Buck's booth in the front entrance. Jo De Buck and
Cole and Harrell in the background.
De Buck ) a pretty great "Keaka" figure (left) from Nigeria
with long provenance and exhibition history. (Right) A
Congo nail fetish.
with a couple Sepik maskettes
Boyd with an Angolan figure
Boyd, A unique Makonde
Masks and Artistic Metamorphosis"
Producer: Elizabeth Lees
My favorite part of the show was the exhibit in the
foyer consisting of Bay Area Artist Mort Golub's contemporary mask creations
which were inspired by masks from the Himalayas and Indonesia. I really like much of what he is
creating. Every piece has a soul, even the most abstract masks! I
hope this is the jumping off point for Mort into deserved "branding" by the
art community.... Next to the shield exhibit (years ago), it was the best exhibit
in the foyer I can remember. The Himalayan masks were owned by
Thomas Murray the curator.
Some felt it could have been
a more inclusive exhibit where masks were culled from various dealers.
Tom told me he originally proposed that Idea to Elizabeth Lees but she
understandably nixed this option because it added an insurmountable level of
complexity or an already challenging exhibit.
be honest I blew past most of these foyer exhibitions past in years, but I
kept coming back to this one. After seeing a body of Mort Golub's art again, I really got just "how" inspired he
is. Wow! I found the exhibit to be a rich art experience. Mort has been represented continuously by Cavin
Morris Galley for 10 years. I wish them much more success going
an internal creative alchemy he would transform these discarded shards of
our consumer society into compelling visionary art. And as his body of
work grew, it became clear that something very special was happening: Mort
had gone from collecting art to making it". And the art he was
making was not only good, it was truly inspired!
I think the
exhibit achieved its goal of "telling the artist's story while introducing
his art to a whole new audience which may be unfamiliar with Mort Golub or
the masks from various lands that inspired him." Taken
from the San Francisco show catalog article: "Transformation
Masks and Artistic Metamorphosis" by Thomas Murray. I recommend
getting a copy from the promoters.
better photos check out Mort Golub
In the future
it would be a great idea to use this foyer exhibit space for outreach and education
to appeal to new collectors, as I felt this exhibit did. Other tailored exhibits and maybe some
lectures could go a long way in helping to broaden the market and build
The new buyers, I'm occasionally meeting, do not collector tribal art per
se but are
instead buying as an enhancement to an existing collection of modern
and/or contemporary art.
Eglinton's- New York (Photo
was telling me that Luba mask on the wall is Ex. Willie Mestdagh. (Photo
Eglinton) He sold this fine Fijian Totokia club at the show (Photo
like a good Monkey. Galen Lowe (Seattle) with a 19th c. Japanese
copper monkey hand warmer.
liked Mike Hamson's display of Boomerangs from the Oldman Collection
Moraga- Berkley with a handsome Dida tie died woman's skirt from the ivory
cont.) Woman's ceremonial veil "Tadghart" Morocco
cont.) This Cameroon Bamileke Embroidered Tunic was his catalog
Naegele (New York) with a textural and graphic leather cape from the Turkana
people of Kenya. Applied knotted fiber tubes secured with stripes of
hide. The projections were probably once anchors for hundreds of
Naegele- Turkana leather cape.
Naegele) A flamboyant man's beaded corset from the Dinka people of
Sudan. He showed me, as a base-maker, what he had to do for the piece
to keep its form. Pretty impressive.
Heathcote and company. As I recall this was a New Guinea Pre-Contact
neckrest from the North coast region.
Murray- Asiatica- Ethnographica
Murray) 19th C. tie-dye Sumatra "Lawon" having an orange
center and Purple border
Murray) Solomon Island female figure
Murray) I like the old original paint on this expressive Dayak "Hudoq"
Primitive- NY. Great piece but poor photo of an Olmec Shaman in
Primitive) a sleeping Colima Dog.
Primitive) A New Ireland Malagan Figure
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