African Art, New York, and the Avant Garde

This exhibition is made possible by the Friends of the Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas.

Exhibition Objects

Featured Media

How, When, and Why African Art Came to New York: A Conversation

Program information

In conjunction with the exhibition African Art, New York, and the Avant-Garde (on view November 27, 2012–September 2, 2013), this program features Jack Flam—President and CEO, The Dedalus Foundation, and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Art and Art History, Brooklyn College and The Graduate Center, The City University of New York—and Yaëlle Biro, Assistant Curator of African Art.

Recorded June 21, 2013

African Art, New York, and the Avant-Garde

November 27, 2012–September 2, 2013

Accompanied by a publication

This exhibition highlights the specific African artifacts acquired by the New York avant-garde and its most influential patrons during the 1910s and 1920s. Reflecting on the dynamism of New York's art scene during the years that followed the 1913 Armory Show, the exhibition brings together African works from the collections of many key individuals of the period such as Alfred Stieglitz, Marius de Zayas, John Quinn, Louise and Walter Arensberg, Alain LeRoy Locke, and Eugene and Agnes Meyer.

Featuring the Metropolitan's own holdings as well as loans from public and private collections, the exhibition includes some forty wood sculptures from West and Central Africa presented alongside photographs, sculptures, and paintings by Alfred Stieglitz, Charles Sheeler, Pablo Picasso, Francis Picabia, Diego Rivera, and Constantin Brancusi. Together, these works of art from Africa and the Western avant-garde evoke the original context in which they were first experienced simultaneously almost a century ago.