26 January 2018

Jan 27 to Apr 28, Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, TX

4 comments:

  1. Here is the New York Times review of the exhibit.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/01/arts/design/nasher-sculpture-center-dallas-first-sculpture-review.html

    I attended the exhibit on opening night. I highly recommend taking the time to view this if at all possible. Quite amazing!!!!!!!

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  2. Hi Ken...

    Thanks for the heads-up on this apparent rip-off. Wonder where they came up with the term "figure stones". Any ideas? And, of course, the application of neuroscience to face recognition in this context?

    Looking back about fourteen years, consider this from the home page of daysknob.com :

    "And the 'professionals' will eventually pontificate endlessly on all this once they become aware of it, and claim to have discovered it."

    Maybe I should just think of this as being progress, in a perverse sort of way...

    Regards, Alan

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  3. Following up on my previous posting, here is a comment in response to a YouTube video posted by the Nasher Sculpture Center:

    "Neandertals produced no depictions. There is nothing in the extensive archaeological record that could in any way be construed as a Neandertal's representation of an animal, or a person, or indeed of anything." So writes Thomas Wynn in his book "How to Think Like a Neandertal".

    And now Dr. Wynn, a theoretical anthropologist with little apparent understanding of lithic material, has paired up with a wealthy pop artist in producing an elaborate dog-and-pony show promoting themselves as the discoverers of iconistic expression in stone by our hominin predecessors, blatantly misappropriating the work and intellectual property of independent researchers employing a science-based methodology. Almost incredibly, they are even hijacking the term "figure stone", which fell into disuse at the beginning of the twentieth century and was revived fifteen years ago by the website daysknob.com which, along with palaeoart.com, seems to have provided much of Wynn's and Berlant's (unacknowledged) inspiration. (The likely basis for the well presented neuroscience component of their exhibit can be seen at daysknob.com/Face-Recognition.htm .)

    Billed as "the first museum exhibition to present ancient handaxes and figure stones as works of art", it falls well short of this, and even a modicum of due diligence on the part of the curators would have made this evident. There was, among others, the April 2000 exhibit "Werktuigen en kunst (tools and art) van de Neanderthalers uit Fontmaure, Midden-Frankrijk" at the Museon in the Hague, which displayed some of the same Fontmaure stones now shown at the Nasher. And in July 2015 there was Richard Wilson's large display at the Watford Museum near London, which, being honest, he titled "Neanderthal Art II - The Fontmaure Figure-Stones".

    And speaking of Richard Wilson, Dr. Wynn and Mr. Berlant visited with him during their trip to the British Museum, querying him extensively on his research but failing entirely to mention him in their big and glossy "scholarly catalog" accompanying the Nasher display. At the same time, they gush about their "stimulating talks with Dr. Nick Ashton of the British Museum", who has long been disparaging the whole figure stones concept.

    Giving credit where it is due, this is a beautifully configured exhibit, and it seems no expense was spared in acquiring the artifacts on display. When I visited on 22 February 2018, the staff were at all times friendly and helpful. It's just sad that the curators are apparently so disingenuous and self-serving.

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    Replies
    1. For over 50 years I have observed effigies, both natural and human formed and whoever is so ignorant to proclaim that Neanderthals and other did not see forms in nature including clouds, rocks, trees, entrails, and in the spirit world that is everywhere, should not be so arrogant and pathetic as to make it seem that earlier humans were stupid apes.

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