Art News

Exhibition Explores the Critical Role Photography Played in Transforming Artifacts into Prized Works of Art

BOSTON, MA.- In their search for new modes of expression, avant-garde artists during the early 20th century—such as Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, and Henri Matisse—found inspiration in objects from Africa and Oceania. Their “discovery” of these objects from distant places, which had made their way into the marketplace in Paris, New York, and other major cities, elevated these artifacts to much-sought-after works of art. Photography aided this transformation, shifting the perception of pieces previously considered ethnographic or merely utilitarian to works of art and, in the process, created new, appreciative audiences. An exploration of this evolution is presented in Object, Image, Collector: African and Oceanic Art in Focus, an exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), that draws from 20 Boston-area collections and the collections of the MFA. On view December 12, 2009, through July 18, 2010, in the Art of Asi