By: Jenna Curry
San Francisco has been the go-to city for tribal arts in February, and this year, two major shows are scheduled for the same weekend. In its 24th year, the San Francisco Tribal & Textile Arts Show, running Feb. 12–13, will showcase art from Oceania, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Central and South America, Polynesia and Indonesia, while the 26th annual Marin Show: Art of the Americas, taking place Feb. 13–14, focuses on indigenous works from North, Central and South America.
Kicking off the weekend, more than 100 dealers will gather at San Francisco’s Fort Mason Center for SFTTA, which will debut new photographs by fine art photographer Mike Glad, who traveled through Yemen, Myanmar and Pakistan to complete his collection titled Other Worlds. San Francisco dealer Joe Loux will bring rare figurative objects such as a Nuo mask from Southwest China. The 15-inch mask is “very dramatic and old,” he says. “There are 10 in a complete set, each representing a different character in the Nuo theater. This is Erlang, god of rivers.”
New York-based dealer Amyas Naegele will offer a range of 19th-century African objects, such as a carved Suku figure from Congo—rare because it is largely untampered with and retains its original woven skirt. “Here, abstract and tribal interpretations of the human form are expressed in a tour de force of carving that is singularly Suku in the tight articulation of the arms, expressive face and reflective posture,” says Naegele, who adds that the figure was probably intended for use in fecundity rites. He prices it at $43,000.
Pace Primitive in New York plans to bring a rare 19th-century Tsimshian mask from British Columbia, made of wood, polychrome, hair and leather. According to director Carlo Bella, these masks are often referred to as “portraits” and were worn during ceremonial reenactments of stories from a clan’s history and mythology.
About 180 dealers will offer even more American Indian works of art at the Marin Show. Show producer Kim Martindale says the market for American Indian objects has stayed steady, despite the rocky economy. “The hottest thing on the market currently is pre-’30s jewelry,” he says. “As a whole, jewelry done with the Navajo ingot silver has doubled in price in the past year.”
One week prior to Tribal Arts Weekend, on Feb. 5–7, the Fort Mason Center will house the San Francisco Arts of Pacific Asia Show. Representing Japanese screens, Imari Gallery of Sausalito, Calif., will bring a late 18th-century six-panel screen of a spring landscape and cherry tree from the Edo period, priced at $57,500.