Migrating Objects Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas in the Peggy Guggenheim Collection

Peggy Guggenheim is celebrated for her groundbreaking modern art collection. Migrating Objects will focus on a lesser-known, but crucial episode in Guggenheim’s own migratory path: her turn to the arts of Africa, Oceania, and the indigenous Americas in the 1950s and ’60s. The exhibition will present these objects in groupings privileging their original contexts or, alternately, in dialogue with European works from her collection. Guggenheim’s approach will be located within a broader, problematic tradition of pairing modern Western art with “non-Western” art, based on perceived formal and conceptual affinities. These purposely contrasting methodologies will allow for a consideration of how the works, whose intended uses and meanings were frequently misunderstood, were deployed in studios, galleries, museums, and homes to different, often contradictory, ends. Tracing these objects’ trajectories will reveal entangled histories of colonization, annexation, migration, and reinterpretation, in tandem with biographies of individuals both well-known and unrecorded.



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