This annual Tribal Art Show
event located on the waterfront Marina at Fort Mason is a "Must
See" for everyone! We were blessed with gorgeous sunny
weather which sent attendance soaring. This is an
"energized" event which continuously expands each year.
If you attend only one tribal show per year it should be this one. If you're attending the show for the first
time give yourself plenty of time (at least two
days) to see everything as the event can seem overwhelming. It's
fairly obvious that this show has become the best tribal show in the world,
attracting the finest dealers, showing the highest forms of the various
tribal arts. Booths have grown more sophisticated and refined, boosting the overall
appearance of the show,
which has never looked better! San Francisco is "The"
destination for Tribal Art enthusiasts.
the Gala Preview opening benefited the de Young Museum's departments
of Textiles, Art of Africa, Oceania and the Americas. All of the
important museum donors were in attendance. On Friday night there
was a separate event at the de Young Museum for dealers and lenders of
Tribal art. The dealer organization "San Francisco
Tribal" was a co-sponsor. John Friede led an exciting &
informative tour explaining some of his pieces currently housed in the
of Alcatraz Island from Festival
of the marketplace: Many dealers reported that sales this year
were off 10% to 20% or more. With 103 dealers under
"one roof" and a finite number of buyers not every dealer will
have a successful show. The softer sales may be attributed to two factors. The U.S. economic slowdown
and looming recession is likely a factor but probably not the main one
since most collectors buy art with discretionary income. The
larger long term factor seems directly related to the weakening U.S. dollar.
that fewer American Collectors are
traveling to Europe and buying art these days. There was
apparently a substantial drop in American buyers from Summer Bruneaf
Fair to the Winter Bruneaf. The European
dealers are especially feeling the slowdown and are more
dependant on their base of customers back home. As a result the
European dealers, despite their increased purchasing power, were far less active buying at the show this year.
In fact they were eager to "sell", adjusting their prices to tempt U.S.
That said a
healthy number of dealers sold over $100,000 in material and some did
many times over that! For example, Joel Cooner had a stellar show selling a New
Guinea Mindja Figure for six figures from the Masco Collection.
Other dealer's reporting a very successful show include Vicki Shiba
(Mill Valley, CA), Michael Hamson (Palos Verdes Estates CA), Michael
Evans (Pennsylvania) and Tribalmania. Although I didn't
speak to each of my European colleagues, Dalton Somare' (Milan Italy)
reported strong African Art sales as usual. Other European dealers
such as Jack Sadovnic (Brussels) and Joaquin Pecci (Brussels) got off to
a slow start but they finished strong.
DeRoche (Piedmont CA) chose not to exhibit at the show after the
promoters strategically moved him to the back from a prime space in the front of the
show (shared by Jo De Buck). Deroche had occupied that same space
for 15 years. Instead Dave hosted several art openings in his home
including a Sunday morning brunch. He tells me it was a fabulous
success vastly exceeding his expectations.
more wood: This year there was an intentional shift in the
composition of dealers. There were fewer Carpet/ Rug dealers
and more Tribal Art dealers giving the show more focus and
show the customers don't see: The process of vetting
material for authenticity is seldom pretty but always daunting and
sometimes subjective. Occasionally pieces are removed which should stay in and
pieces are left in which should be removed. This is especially
true of African and to a lesser extent Indonesian Material.
It has been said many times but there is a dire need for the vetting to
be done by outside independent experts. This is partially being
done with Oceanic Art having John Friede and David Rosenthal
(non-exhibiting dealer) on the Vetting committee.
Special Exhibit in
the Foyer Organized by Lee Chinalai
Garments- Inner Warmth"
array of wearable art displayed on a complex bamboo structure a dramatic
entrance to the show
to Dealers: I try to be inclusive but it is impossible to photograph every booth. If
not seen here and you have an image please email it to us.
Loveless- London, had one of most tasteful and elegant booths at the
show although his choice of belts remains questionable.
Loveless: Group of nested triple prestige containers from Rwanda
Booth, Raymond Manzarek (keyboardist from "The Doors")
poses for a photo, before picking up a purchase
Hamson: With a large New Guinea Papuan Gulf Gope Board from
the Elema people, (right) an ancient Lower Sepik Figure which he
described as a Rembrandt of New Guinea Art. Both pieces were sold.
Sadovnic still suffering from jet lag adjusts the time on his phone, or
takes his own picture to prove he actually arrived.
Moraga- Berkley CA
impressive New Britain Tapa Dance Shield (Baining People)
Bruce Frank and Wayne Heathcote
patiently wait for the food court to open. Rumor has it they
actually camped on que the night before.
with a captive audience discussing a Baule Figure
Fine Art- Delaplane VA, with her husband standing in front of a large
Samoan Tapa Cloth "siapo"
Kruzick's Booth: Group of antique Japanese masks
TO PAGE 2 --->
and photos by Michael Auliso)
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