Photo: Cary Conover for The New York Times
The New York International Tribal & Textile Arts Show opened at the Seventh Regiment Armory.
via NYTimes Art Review:
New York International Tribal & Textile Arts Show
Global Art: Talismans, a Phantom and a King
By HOLLAND COTTER
Published: May 21, 2007
You think art fairs aren’t sexy? The New York International Tribal & Textile Arts Show is out to prove you wrong. Just inside the entrance to the Seventh Regiment Armory’s drill hall you’ll find a peppery display of Burmese pornographic drawings. And smack in the middle of the show, bristling like a cactus garden, is a cluster of carved-wood Thai phalluses.
No need to call the vice squad. All this stuff is religious or folk-religious. The sculptures and drawings were created a century or so ago as talismans to ensure prosperity, fertility and supernatural protection. It is said that they can even perform miracles, like warding off bullets and turning ho-hum you and me into Ms. and Mr. Irresistible.
These forceful items are part of a special display organized by Chinalai Tribal Antiquities, a gallery in Shoreham, N.Y., for a fair that has more than a few irresistible features of its own. The wide-open space at the armory, suitable for tanks and tennis, imposes the same regimental format on every fair that appears there: booth beside booth, aisle after aisle. But this show has a look of its own, in part because it is the only tribal fair in town, which seems odd, given that New York is, among other things, an African-American city with a significant African population, a Latino city that grows more Latino by the day and an Asia outside Asia.
As for textiles, where else, even taking the Metropolitan Museum into account, can you lay eyes on the range you see here? [read on...]