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Funding Allows Publication and Documentation of African Art and Culture

September 19, 2006

NEW YORK—The Getty Foundation announced today a grant award of $240,000 to The Museum for African Art for a series of publications on African art and visual culture. 

The publications complement several ambitious new exhibitions planned at the museum, which is moving in 2008 to new quarters on New York’s Museum Mile, quadrupling its current exhibition space.  The Museum is dedicated to increasing the public’s understanding and appreciation of African art and culture through internationally acclaimed exhibitions that explore a range of issues pertaining to historical and contemporary African art.

“We’re delighted to fund this important series of publications which will present an Africa that is thriving in its creative output,” says Joan Weinstein, interim director of the Getty Foundation. 

The eight books in the series include Ibrahim El Salahi: A Visionary Modernist, edited by Salah Hassan; When Gods Were Human: African Art at Ife, Birthplace of the Yoruba by Suzanne Preston Blier; Transcendent Traditions: Baskets of Two Continents edited by Dale Rosengarten and Enid Schildkrout; Art That Dies: Iconoclasm, Transformation, and Renewal in African Art edited by Elisabeth Cameron and Zoë Strother; Generations: Mothers and Children in African Art edited by Herbert M. Cole and Enid Schildkrout; African Fashion edited by Donna Ghelerter and Victoria Rovine; Images of War, Visions of Peace: The Art of War in Africa edited by David Rosen; and Impressions edited by Jessica Levin Martinez. 

Several titles in the series are intended to interpret anew the classic arts of Africa, most of which now reside outside the continent. Other books in this series explore African art, both classic and contemporary, through particular themes. Still other books relate art to important historical topics involving the African Diaspora, exploring parallel histories of an artform on both sides of the Atlantic. Lastly, several books will present important work on modern and contemporary African art.

“We are historically among the world’s largest publishers on African art and culture, and if we don’t publish a book, basically no one else can. That means that scholarship ends up largely inaccessible outside a university context,” says Elsie McCabe, president of the Museum for African Art.  “The tragedy is that if people like us don’t document them, a continent’s legacies and traditions are lost forever.  This grant will help us ensure that people’s heritages are documented and accessible for generations to come.”

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Julie Jaskol
Getty Communications

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