Took in a very worthwhile exhibit yesterday at UBC's Museum of Anthropology -- an exhibit putting Man Ray's photographs of African art and sculpture in the context of those actual pieces so that we could compare the physical objects with the use Ray and other photographers of the period made of them and better understand their exploitation by and their influence on the Modernist and Surrealist movements.
Although I was a bit annoyed with myself for putting off this exhibit for so long -- it closes on Sunday so we partly made this trip over to catch it before then -- in some ways, I'm glad I did because our viewing of it is now informed by the visit we made to San Francisco's Museum of the African Diaspora. That museum insists on placing African artifacts -- ceremonial headdresses, carved doorways, cooking implements, spiritual sculptures, etc. -- in the context of their original use. It tries, then, to correct many decades, even centuries, of these pieces being collected as curiosities for viewing or studying or archiving.
A short video coincidentally shown at both museums linked the two exhibits all these miles apart on the Pacific Coast: Susan Vogel's short: "Fang: An Epic Journey" follows an African (Fang, more specifically) sculpture from its (colonialist) acquisition to a Paris artist's atelier in the early 20th century to an art collector much later in the century and into the hands of an academic who retraces its history. The work is fictional but based on fact, an informative and entertaining dramatization of the lives of so many pieces yanked from their communities and circulated in so many odd contexts.
I'm sorry to be so late visiting and commenting on this exhibit, because I'd love to tell you it's worth heading out to UBC to experience for yourself. And there's still today and tomorrow . . . Even if you miss this one, though, you really should get out to the MOA -- such a stunning building in one of the best settings for any such museum, anywhere in the world, really. And to see the native art, those totem poles especially, against the grey sky, as you can in this stunning architecture . . . really worth the drive.
And while I'm making recommendations . . . we saw Mike Leigh's Another Year last night, and this one lingers. This is one you'll want to go out for dinner or drinks afterward to talk about (thin-crust pizza and a glass of wine at Incendio's for us). Recently, we've seen Black Swan and The King's Speech and I would recommend both of those as well, but Leigh slows down the pace and confronts you with humanity in its beautiful, sad, and optimistic vulnerability. This film, with no single celebrity actor to carry it, is the one that will stay with me. And it offers a woman of a certain age that I would happily adopt as a model, a mentor, a friend. . . seriously, you'll love this woman.
Anyway, you get the idea. I like the film. Go see it.
We're off today to see a play, This. The playwright, Melissa James Gibson, is apparently a Vancouverite, daughter of a well-respected BC long-time politician and journalist, but her work, regularly staged in New York, has never been shown in her home town. Megan Follows is playing the central role in a story centering on the lives of five mid-30s women struggling for balance in busy lives. . . should be fun.
And then we're hoping to catch some time with a little girl and her mom, Daughter #1. Daughter #2 has a new kitten, the most gorgeously quirkly-faced Persian that I've only met in photos, so we'll spend some time ooh-ing and ah-ing over there. Might even get a chance to check out Daughter #3's wedding dress (yes, she and her big sister chose it without me -- I tried not to be miffed, 'cause, you know, her day and all . . . and I live over there and she's over here, etc., and it's all good now, but still, I'll be pleased to finally see it!).
So a busy weekend. I'll need some naps but not sure when I'll fit them in. Have you got anything special on? Any napping planned? Whatever you're doing, take care . . .