Tuesday, May 25, 2010

African 'Magic' Influences Western Art in VU Exhibit

Gregg Hertzlieb, director of Valparaiso University's Brauer Museum of Art, can see the influence of the pieces in his "The Art and Magic of Africa" exhibit on some of the 20th Century's most acclaimed artists.

"Both Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse were very influenced by African tribal art," he said. "To look at the exhibit from the perspective of influencing modern artists can be a pretty neat way of looking at it."

Celebrating the opening of the exhibit with a reception at 7 p.m. Friday at Brauer Museum, "Africa" is made up of pottery, weapons, metal works, masks and carved figures created by African tribes in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The artifacts that make up the exhibit are part of the collection of Beverly Shored-based dealer and collector Lawrence P. Kolton.

Kolton has spent more than four decades traveling the globe in search of tribal art. In 2005, he lent the Brauer Museum approximately 150 pieces of New Guinea tribal art for an acclaimed exhibit, "Art and the Spirit World of New Guinea."

Hertzlieb estimated that more than 300 artifacts from Kolton's collection will be on display in "Africa."

"I don't think there are a lot of people nowadays that could achieve what these tribes people were able to achieve, not only with the materials and technique, but in terms of imagination and possibilities," Hertzlieb said. "If you look at the patterns and abstractions, it's just endlessly inventive."

Kolton is slated to be in attendance at Friday's reception to give a brief lecture. Hertzlieb is scheduled to host a gallery talk in relation to "Africa" at Brauer Museum at 7 p.m. July 21.

"(Kolton is) really excited about this African show, because it shows some of his best stuff," Hertzlieb said.

The Brauer Museum of Art is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Brauer Museum of Art, Valparaiso University, 1709 Chapel Drive, Valparaiso

By TIM SHELLBERG - Times Correspondent

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