Date unknown, 1987: Architectural Elements from the Pacific Islands, an exhibition of 17 outstanding objects from The Brooklyn Museum’s permanent collection of Oceanic art, has been extended and will be on view through May 1, 1988. The display, which was originally scheduled to close on January 4, 1988, is in the Special Exhibitions Gallery of the Department of African, Oceanic and New World Art, located on the first floor.
The objects in the exhibition are impressive in their monumentality and are distinctive for their anthropomorphic qualities as well as their technical virtuosity. They were once integral parts of ceremonial buildings in Melanesia and Polynesia, including Irian Jaya, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Fiji and Easter Island. As part of the interior and exterior of the ceremonial house, the roof finials, gable masks, house posts and other objects in this exhibition served as highly charged symbols of the community at large. Given the scarcity of land in the Pacific and the attendant conflicts between groups over land rights, the objects were equally important as a means of providing physical and spiritual defense. Noteworthy examples include a Sepik River gable mask, a Maori door lintel and a Telefomin doorboard.
Architectural Elements from the Pacific Islands was selected and organized by Francine Farr, Assistant Curator in the Museum’s Department of African, Oceanic and New World Art.
Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1971 - 1988. 1987, 101.