Monday, November 30, 2009

Icons of the Desert

at The Grey Art Gallery through Dec 5th

"In 1971, at Papunya, a government-established Aboriginal relief camp in the desert heart of Australia, the Sydney schoolteacher Geoffrey Bardon provided a group of ranking Aboriginal men with brushes and acrylic pigments, and encouraged them to paint. The resulting works are the first paintings ever to systematically transfer Central Australian cultural imagery to a permanent surface. This exhibition presents some of the first and finest examples from what has become an art movement of international scope and importance, and introduces the story of this pivotal moment of intersection between millennia of Aboriginal culture and traditionally Western modes of understanding art. Several of the works in this exhibition include sacred imagery and depictions of ritual objects used in men’s ceremonies that would normally be viewable only by initiated men within the Aboriginal community. However, key senior painters have graciously granted permission for American audiences to view these works."

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