Exhibitions: Art of the Archaic Indonesians

  • 1st Floor
    Arts of Africa, Steinberg Family Sculpture Garden
  • 2nd Floor
    Arts of Asia and the Islamic World
  • 3rd Floor
    Egyptian Art, European Paintings
  • 4th Floor
    Contemporary Art, Decorative Arts, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art
  • 5th Floor
    Luce Center for American Art

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    Art of the Archaic Indonesians

    Press Releases ?
    • Date unknown, 1981: The first major museum exhibition in the United States devoted entirely to the sculpture of the Archaic Indonesians will open at The Brooklyn Museum on November 7 and run through January 31, 1982. This exhibition is made possible by a grant from the Mobil Oil Corporation, who will also sponsor the exhibition when it travels to The Dallas Museum of Fine Arts in the Spring of 1982.

      Approximately 100 traditional works of art were selected from groups who were not deeply influenced by the Hindu, Buddhistic and Moslem religions. Their culture took shape during the last millennium B.C. However, until very recent times they continued to preserve their original religious beliefs and social structures and to create works of art of exceptional aesthetic quality that were an inseparable part of life as a whole.

      This exhibition reveals the variety of sculptural traditions that flourished on the islands of Enggano and Nias, Sumatra, Sulawesi, Borneo, the Lesser Sunda Islands and the Moluccas. Included are stone carvings that are monumental in character: unusual wooden masks, figures, staffs, and architectural elements, as well as delicately crafted metal objects. The persistence of prehistoric themes and motifs, as well as cultural patterns, are revealed by the works themselves and through contextual photographs.

      One of the most unusual objects is a mid-nineteenth century Sumatran magic book. The beautifully illustrated text, written on accordion folded bark leaves, is placed between skillfully carved wooden covers. It contains the formulas for aggressive magic, divination, and astrological computations.

      A fully illustrated 149-page catalogue ($19.00) with color and black and white illustrations will accompany the exhibition. Postcards and posters will also be available at the Museum. This exhibition was organized by the museums of Geneva: Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, Musée d’Ethnographie, Musée Barbier-Müller.

      Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1971 - 1988. 1981, 019-20. View Original 1 . View Original 2

    Press Coverage of this Exhibition ?

    • ART: ARCHAIC INDONESIA AT BROOKLYN MUSEUMNovember 27, 1981 By GRACE GLUECK"NEW YORKERS who think there are no surprises left in ''primitive'' art are in for -well, a surprise. On short notice, the Brooklyn Museum has brought from Switzerland a marvel of a show called ''Art of the Archaic Indonesians'' (through Jan. 31), the first major museum exhibition in the United States devoted to sculpture of the island peoples of..."
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