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Africa Re-Viewed: The Photographic Legacy of Eliot Elisofon

November 21, 2013 - August 24, 2014

An exhibition in celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives

In celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives at the National Museum of African Art, the museum is organizing a retrospective exhibition of internationally-renowned photographer Eliot Elisofon. As a photojournalist for Life magazine, Elisofon photographed the people, culture, arts, and landscape of Africa becoming known as the first photographer to popularize post-war images of Africa and its leaders in American media. Elisofon also collected over 700 objects of African art during his lifetime. Upon his death in 1973, he bequeathed his art collection, personal archives, and African photography to the museum where he was also a founding trustee.

Africa Re-Viewed: The Photographic Legacy of Eliot Elisofon will focus on Elisofon's innovative photography and its impact on portraying the diverse arts and cultures of modern-era Africa. The exhibition will be the first to pair his photographs with collected objects, films, books, and journals, and the first exhibition in forty years to celebrate his photographic legacy.

Lines, Marks, and Drawings: Through the Lens of Roger Ballen
June 19, 2013 - February 9, 2014

I'm basically an organizer. I organize visual chaos into visual coherency.
- Roger Ballen

Roger Ballen (b. 1950) has been shooting black-and-white film for nearly a half-century. A New York native, he has lived in South Africa for more than thirty years. Ballen's photographs of rural Afrikaners in their homes and urban-based "outsiders" in windowless rooms quickly became distinguished for their interior arrangements and the events that transpired among the people, animals, and furnishings within.

Ballen's interest in line-whether of coat hangers, electric wire, or marks made on walls-has been constant. His fascination with it, notes Craig Allen Subler, has resulted in "complex, theatrical photographs that are increasingly dominated by raw, graffiti-like drawings." In a luminous series of photographs that incorporate drawing on glass, the artist has come out from behind the camera lens to engage with line directly.

This book is the first to follow the development of line and drawing in Ballen's psychologically edgy and seductively beautiful work.

Earth Matters: Land as Material and Metaphor in the Arts of Africa
April 22, 2013-February 23, 2014

Earth Matters: Land as Material and Metaphor in the Arts of Africa is the first major exhibition and scholarly endeavor to examine comprehensively the rich relationship between African artists and the land upon which they live, work, and frame their days.

The exhibition brings together approximately 100 exceptional works of art from the late 18th to 21st centuries. Five thematic sections--The Material Earth, Power of the Earth, Imagining the Underground, Strategies of the Surface, and Art as Environmental Action--provide vantage points from which to examine the most poignant relationships that African individuals and communities have with the earth as a source of power and the sacred; as a surface to be interpreted and turned to for inspiration in the representation of identity, memory, and history; and, as an environment to be protected. And, as part of this exhibition, five artists will, for the first time ever, create land art installations in the Smithsonian Gardens.

Earth Matters is part of a series of exhibitions and books, developed by the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art, which explore African contributions to the history of knowledge. Museum partners include the US Botanic Gardens, the US Department of Agriculture, the Office of Refugee Resettlement, the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian Gardens, the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Dumbarton Oaks, the University of Maryland, and the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capitol.

African Mosaic: Celebrating a Decade of Collecting

A towering and visually striking sculpture of Haitian leader Toussaint Louverture by contemporary Senegalese artist Ousmane Sow is the centerpiece of a new exhibition of important acquisitions of the past decade at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art. "
African Mosaic: Celebrating a Decade of Collecting" showcases museum purchases and gifts and provides a glimpse into the collecting opportunities and decisions that exist for art museums.

Walt Disney-Tishman African Art Highlights

Donated to the museum in 2005, the Walt Disney-Tishman collection is known for its unique and rare works of traditional African art from throughout sub-Saharan Africa. The collection has been instrumental in defining the field of African art history in the United States and abroad.

Ceramics at the National Museum of African Art

The beauty and richness of Africa's pottery resonates through the traditional and modern ceramic works of art collected by the National Museum of African Art. Examples of the museum´s contemporary and tradional ceramic works from different regions of the continent are on view throughout the museum.

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