Monday, August 18, 2008

Whitehawk Antique Shows show off exceptional tribal art

I joined hundreds of other appreciators of ethnographic art weaving through the concourses of the Whitehawk 25th Annual Antique Ethnographic Art Show at Santa Fe's El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe on Saturday, August 16. It was a very impressive show with 108 booths filled with antiquities from some of the most respected dealers in the field. There was so much extraordinary art presented that I had an unusual reaction.

It was exacerbated by the Tribal Art Show that took place the same day at Santa Fe's DeVargas Mall. This was a smaller show but, according to others who visited both shows, of better average quality. I don't agree but, being more compressed it might appear to be a more concetrated look at fine tribal art.

It was interesting to see some exceptional Australian Aboriginal dot paintings, very professionally presented by a gallery from La Jolla, California. There also was a mix of vintage Aboriginal artifacts. Does this signal a more important role for Australian Aboriginal art in the Western Hemisphere? It would be nice.

The reaction was that there is a great deal more excellent ethnographic (tribal) art at large in the world than the description “rare” would suggest. Certainly more than I imagined.

A similar reaction was that the prices tended to be much higher than what we are charging for equivalent or nearly equivalent material.

While it is too late to see this year's Whitehawk Ethnographic Show, which closed on Sunday, a second Whitehawk show, the 30th Annual Invitational Antique Indian Art Show, has opened and runs through Wednesday, August 20.

I will write about that show tomorrow.

Based on the two Ethnographic and Tribal Art Shows I witnessed this weekend, however, I would recommend attendance at the upcoming show as a very educational opportunity. Admission is $10 per person.

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