Today marked the opening to the public of the new wing of the Seattle Art Museum in Washington (state). SAM is the first major museum in the United States to host a gallery devoted to Aboriginal art from Australia. The works included in the gallery are from the collection of Margaret Levi and Robert Kaplan, long time collectors whom I had the pleasure to meet for the first time last summer. Margaret was in Paris for the opening of the Musee du Quai Branly, where we were briefly introduced. (Scroll to the bottom of this page for a photo of Margaret in Paris.) A few days later we all caught up in Washington, DC, for the opening of Dreaming Their Way at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, to which Margaret and Bob were major lenders. (A photo from the Dartmouth venue is here.)
For the opening, the gallery has on display a major work by Lin Onus, Gathering Storm (1993), a large collective work by the men of the Tjuntjuntjara “Spinifex” community, a collection of ten larrakitj, mortuary poles from the Yirrkala region, and “Painting Up Yams, Leaves, and Lizards,” an exhibition of works by women painters of Utopia.
Bob noted that there has been a week of fabulous celebrations, with much publicity being generated for the Aboriginal collection. Next on Bob and Margaret’s agenda will be a show of work from Yuendumu, curated by David Betz in Helena, Montana. My congratulations to Bob and Margaret, and to the Seattle Art Museum for making Aboriginal art history in the USA.