What a Show About Masks Might Really Be Disguising

by Seph Rodney on September 12, 2016

Post image for What a Show About Masks Might Really Be Disguising

Masks present a quandary. It’s not so much what they’re hiding that I wonder about, but what the camouflage or costuming is meant to produce in me.

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Post image for An Exhibition of 100 Masks Shows Humanity’s Enduring Thirst for Transformation

Around 100 masks of every contorted grimace imaginable, both human and animalistic, are assembled on the top floor of the Rubin Museum of Art for the new exhibition Becoming Another: The Power of Masks.

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Post image for Reconfiguring The African Mask: From Artifact To Art Form

Whether sequestered behind glass in a museum or sold to tourists along Fifth Avenue, the African mask is an image from the non-Western world that we are all familiar with. Yet walking though the African art galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art the other day, I felt somewhat disconnected from the African mask. Severed from its intended use for performance and ceremonies, the mask as it is presented in the museum becomes an ambiguous object. Does the mask still have relevance when removed from its cultural context? Can we appreciate it for just its form? Is it art or artifact?

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