Review of “MicroCosmos: Details From the [Ted] Carpenter Collection of Arctic Art”

24Nov15
Head from Human Doll Figure, with Tattoo Patterning (ca. 500-800)
Head from Human Doll Figure, with Tattoo Patterning (ca. 500-800) PHOTO: THE EDMUND CARPENTER COLLECTION.

The Menil Collection is host to an extraordinary, compact show of small Paleo-Eskimo artifacts. “MicroCosmos: Details From the Carpenter Collection of Arctic Art” comprises about 150 exquisitely carved objects/sculptures (c. 250 B.C. to A.D. 1000)—predominantly walrus ivories—whose creamy colors have been weathered honey-gold and caramel-brown from centuries buried beneath permafrost.

These carved ivory gems are charged, magical and enigmatic. Most are so little they could be scooped up in handfuls like jewels, charms and miniature chess pieces and stowed away in your pockets. Though untouchable in their display cases, they demand to be handled and closely inspected. You want to see and feel the fine details of their carved contours, interlacing designs and pinprick features.

***** 

Carpenter married photographer Adelaide de Menil (daughter of Menil Collection founders John and Dominique de Menil); and the Carpenters chose numerous masterworks of Pacific Northwest Coast and Pacific Islands art in the Menil Collection. Alongside his friend and colleague Marshall McLuhan, Carpenter was best known for having pioneered contemporary media studies and for seeking to understand what happens when modern and indigenous cultures collide. At the Menil, collections of European and non-European artworks have reached a beautifully interactive synthesis.

Read the rest of this article here: http://goo.gl/GQYC6c

*****

Read the following previous postings about Ted Carpenter here:

Edmund (“Ted”) Snow Carpenter (1922-2011) – https://goo.gl/oT28X1

Lance Strate’s Reflections on the Passing of Ted Carpenter – https://goo.gl/LdMZVO

Edmund "Ted" Carpenter on a ship from a Greenland expedition in the 1990s.

Edmund “Ted” Carpenter on a ship from a Greenland expedition in the 1990s.

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