The title of the show “It’s All Spiritual” reflects the belief that all great art – to some degree or another – has a spiritual component and that nowhere is this seen better than in the tribal arts from remote cultures throughout the world. Here the spiritual and functional collide and the result is a formal beauty which can be appreciated universally.
The objects come from a variety of regions and cultures including Native American, Meso American, Melanesian, Polynesian, Indonesian, African and Chinese. Each piece has been selected by Alan Steele for its unique qualities including rarity, age, intrinsic beauty and relevance to contemporary art. The pieces have been gathered from many important private and public collections.
Early pieces include an Olmec Figure from Meso America circa 500-1100 BC, an early Classic Mimbres Bowl from New Mexico, circa 1000, a Native American Navajo Stripe Blanket from the Southwest, circa early nineteenth century, and a rare and complete Tapa Cloth from Tahiti from the early 19th century.
Other works include, a Yao Mask from Southern China, circa 18th to 19th century, a Native American Sioux Victory Dance Wand, Northern Plains, circa 19th century, a Native American Sioux Muslin Exploit Painting of the 1880’s painted by Cante-Wanika (No Heart,) a Tabar Island, Marada Figure Rain Maker from Northeast Coast, New Ireland circa late 19th century and a Fang Reliquary figure from Gabon, Africa, circa early 20th century.
Based in New York, Alan Steele is known as a tribal art specialist and academic. He has been dealing in tribal art since 1980 and specializes in Native American, African and Oceanic cultures. Other curatorial assignments include the tribal section of Brazil Body and Soul at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 2001.