Second Careers

Second Careers explores the connections between historical African art and contemporary practices through a selection of exemplary highlights from the museum’s African collection and loaned works. CMA objects from nine cultures in Central and West Africamale and female figures and masks, masquerade costume, a hunter’s tunic, and a prestige throneare juxtaposed with large-scale installations, sculptures, and photographs by six leading contemporary African artists. The exhibition considers the status of canonical African art objects when they begin their “second careers” upon entering museum collections. It simultaneously examines modes of artistic production in Africa that employ mediums that once served other purposes in everyday life. Focusing more on the conceptual relationship between the two contexts of African art, the exhibition contemplates how contemporary African artists from different generations draw inspiration from and seek transformative encounters with the historical canon. These contexts provide a critical understanding of African art, past and present.