The Art of Translation: The Simon Ottenberg Gift of Modern and Contemporary Nigerian Art
The New York Times has recently published a review of an exhibition held at the Newark Museum that showcases the work of contemporary Nigerian artists from the collection of Simon Ottenberg. They write:
Newark has one of the country’s oldest collections of art from Africa. And it has the greatest collection of Tibetan art in the world, complete with an altar dedicated by the Dalai Lama.
Little wonder that when Simon Ottenberg, an emeritus professor of anthropology at the University of Washington in Seattle, was considering where to place his lifetime collection of 20th-century African work, Newark, so welcoming of the not-obvious, was his choice. Last year he donated 145 pieces, mostly works on paper. Two-dozen of these make up “The Art of Translation: The Simon Ottenberg Gift of Modern and Contemporary Nigerian Art,” a show modest in size but heavy with history, a history that no New York museum tells.
In that history [modern and contemporary African art] he has great subject: deep, vivacious, volatile and happening, here and in Africa, and around the world, right now.
You would barely get a hint of that from our big New York museums. So it comes down to this: to see the world, really see it, you have to travel. The Newark Museum is about a half-hour from Midtown by the PATH train, then a short cab ride or walk. Just go.
“The Art of Translation: The Simon Ottenberg Gift of Modern and Contemporary Nigerian Art” runs through Nov. 3 at the Newark Museum, 49 Washington Street; (973) 596-6550, newarkmuseum.org.