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Re: Staff head/fetish? Original, Copy, Reproduction...

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  • Steve Price
    Hi Ricardo I understand your point, but I disagree. The ability to manipulate supply and demand in the marketplace for African art extends all the way down to
    Message 1 of 51 , Jul 1, 2009
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      Hi Ricardo

      I understand your point, but I disagree. The ability to manipulate supply and demand in the marketplace for African art extends all the way down to the level of the individual purchaser and the individual item.

      Incidentally, I didn't raise the matter of the commodities market, Felix did. His point was that the law of supply and demand doesn't work, and that the shortage of oil proved it. My reply was simply that there is no shortage of oil, and that its recent price varied dramatically in response to changing demand, just as the law of S & D predicts.

      Regards

      Steve Price


      --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, Ricardo de Matos <dematos.ricardo@...> wrote:
      >
      > Hi Steve and Margalit,
      >
      > Just some comments about some of your statements.
      >
      > *
      > >
      > > Supply and demand are always balanced
      > >
      > *
      > Might be, with an infinite number of suppliers and consumers sharing all the
      > available information about their goods, no transport costs,etc......
      > As a matter of fact, in the real economy they are nearly never balanced
      > because of so many distortions : imperfect information, imperfect markets,
      > monopolies, .....that's one of the driving forces behind state
      > intervention.
      >
      > You can´t compare tribal art markets with commodity markets. 1 gallon of
      > refined oil sold today will be the same as one gallon sold tomorrow. It
      > doesn't work like that for a Baule figure.
      >
      > Best,
      > Ricardo
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > 2009/6/29 Steve Price <sprice@...>
      >
      > >
      > >
      > > Hi Felix
      > >
      > > Supply and demand are always balanced because price (value) changes
      > > whenever either of them changes. Supply and demand can both be manipulated,
      > > and often are. I don't understand why you think manipulation makes demand
      > > (or supply) "artificial", although I understand why you don't like the form
      > > that it takes in the African art market.
      > >
      > > Regards
      > >
      > > Steve Price
      > >
      > > --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com <African_Arts%40yahoogroups.com>,
      > > Aaron Weston <impex7@> wrote:
      > > >
      > > > What if the demand is artificial, in other words, manipulated?
      > > >
      > > > Felix
      > > >
      > > > --- On Sun, 6/28/09, Steve Price <sprice@> wrote:
      > > >
      > > > From: Steve Price <sprice@>
      > >
      > > > Subject: [African_Arts] Re: Staff head/fetish? Original, Copy,
      > > Reproduction...
      > > > To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com <African_Arts%40yahoogroups.com>
      > > > Date: Sunday, June 28, 2009, 9:40 AM
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > Hi Margalit
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > You wrote,
      > > >
      > > > "Value is created by demand."
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > Right on, and everyone needs to be reminded of it often. Maybe the only
      > > rule in economics that actually works is that supply and demand are always
      > > in balance because cost (value) changes every time one of them changes. It
      > > applies to African art just as much as it does to everything else.
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > Regards
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > Steve Price
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > --- In African_Arts@ yahoogroups. com, "M.E.F." <mfliegelmann@ ...>
      > > wrote:
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > I think the debate on authenticity has gone off the rail. All those who
      > > think that "out there" there is that which is "really authentic and
      > > valuable" and that which is not, ignore the nature of social facts which
      > > ultimately are only validated by those who uphold them one way or another.
      > > There are no absolute facts but those people create.
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > Value is created by demand.
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > Are all people who value gold or dollars or whatever "foolish"? Why is
      > > gold more valuable than copper? Why are glass beads worthless and diamonds
      > > not? (I am being deliberately provocative and drawing a caricature of
      > > value).
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > I would not use the term foolish but would say that some of the rather
      > > more abrasive and self assured attitudes here have been two dimensional and
      > > naive. The attitudes, not the people who voice them!
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > Margalit---
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > On Sat, 6/27/09, William Klebous <klebous@ > wrote:
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > From: William Klebous <klebous@ >
      > > >
      > > > > Subject: Re: [African_Arts] Re: Staff head/fetish? Original, Copy,
      > > Reproduction. ..
      > > >
      > > > > To: African_Arts@ yahoogroups. com
      > > >
      > > > > Date: Saturday, June 27, 2009, 5:10 AM
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > >> What are we left with then? On the one hand a lot of foolish people
      > > who are willing
      > > >
      > > > > >> to spend tens of thousands of dollars/euros on the ability of
      > > someone to "create"
      > > >
      > > > > >> authenticity, and someone else to perpetuate it, or on the other
      > > hand, the
      > > >
      > > > > >> probability that aesthetic and emotional connections to a piece of
      > > art are the
      > > >
      > > > > >> only reliable standards to apply to value.
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > >> Where do I have this wrong?
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > You have this wrong, in my opinion, because of the same black-and-white
      > > thinking
      > > >
      > > > > that produced the original problem (that things MUST simply be either
      > > authentic or
      > > >
      > > > > inauthentic) . In your case this faulty mode of thinking produces the
      > > result that
      > > >
      > > > > authenticity (of an object without sufficient documentation) MUST be
      > > provable or
      > > >
      > > > > else its consideration is useless.
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > I think this problem is simply solved by replacing thinking about
      > > whether an object
      > > >
      > > > > is authentic by instead thinking about its probable degree of
      > > authenticity.
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > The ideal then becomes a pre-outside- influence object used by a number
      > > of
      > > >
      > > > > generations and then stolen, because nothing that culturally precious
      > > would
      > > >
      > > > > ever be sold or given away. That and only that is 100% authentic.
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > A Fang mask legitimately carved and briefly danced in the 1950's and
      > > then
      > > >
      > > > > willingly sold, I would give maybe a 50% authenticity rating, because
      > > of the
      > > >
      > > > > strong influence of collecting by that time.
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > How about a nearly identical Fang mask, only not danced? Still about
      > > 40%
      > > >
      > > > > as far as I'm concerned.
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > What if both of those masks show probable artificial aging? Well,
      > > assuming
      > > >
      > > > > that it was well-done, I'd only drop each about another 10%.
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > Then you take the authenticty rating of an object, however YOU choose
      > > to
      > > >
      > > > > arrive at it, and multiply it (according to YOUR formula) by the other
      > > important
      > > >
      > > > > variables (likely age, how appropriate the style, how beautiful,
      > > provenance) and
      > > >
      > > > > PRESTO! you have arrived at a value.
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > By the way, once you remove the hype and absolute thinking about
      > > authenticity,
      > > >
      > > > > this is basically how the auction market works anyway.
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > My only complaint is that it is not currently acknowledged, and that
      > > collectors do
      > > >
      > > > > not currently demand that every dealer and auction house provide age
      > > and authenticty
      > > >
      > > > > estimates with every piece offered.
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > WK
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > --- On Fri, 26/6/09, Aboriginals% 3A%20Art% 20of%20the%
      > > 20First%20Person <sanibelart@ comcast. net> wrote:
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > From: Aboriginals% 3A%20Art% 20of%20the% 20First%20Person <sanibelart@comcast. net>
      > > >
      > > > > Subject: Re: [African_Arts] Re: Staff head/fetish? Original, Copy,
      > > Reproduction. ..
      > > >
      > > > > To: "African Arts" <African_Arts@ yahoogroups. com>
      > > >
      > > > > Received: Friday, 26 June, 2009, 11:19 PM
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > It seems clear to me that Lee's thesis suggests that nothing can be
      > > trusted in African tribal art. How do we know if any mask has been danced or
      > > any object used ritually in anyway?
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > Age is no determinant, apparently. Even if acquired in the mid-19th
      > > century, if provable, there is no guarantee of tribal use before
      > > acquisition.
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > Patina or wear is no determinant - too easily faked.
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > Provenance is no determinant, too easily falsified.
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > Even photography is questionable, between the ability to photoshop and
      > > the real possibility that the item shown in the photo is not the same item
      > > as that being disputed.
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > What are we left with then? On the one hand a lot of foolish people who
      > > are willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars/euros on the ability of
      > > someone to "create" authenticity, and someone else to perpetuate it, or on
      > > the other hand, the probability that aesthetic and emotional connections to
      > > a piece of art are the only reliable standards to apply to value.
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > Where do I have this wrong?
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > William Waites
      > > >
      > > > > ----- Original Message -----
      > > >
      > > > > From: "M.E.F." <mfliegelmann@ yahoo.com>
      > > >
      > > > > To: "African Arts" <African_Arts@ yahoogroups. com>
      > > >
      > > > > Sent: Friday, June 26, 2009 8:29:00 AM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
      > > >
      > > > > Subject: Re: [African_Arts] Re: Staff head/fetish? Original, Copy,
      > > Reproduction. ..
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > Dear Lee,
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > What makes you think the Punu mask has not been danced? M
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > --- On Wed, 6/24/09, Lee Rubinstein <LeeRubinstein@ mac.com> wrote:
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > From: Lee Rubinstein <LeeRubinstein@ mac.com>
      > > >
      > > > > Subject: Re: [African_Arts] Re: Staff head/fetish? Original, Copy,
      > > Reproduction. ..
      > > >
      > > > > To: African_Arts@ yahoogroups. com
      > > >
      > > > > Date: Wednesday, June 24, 2009, 8:24 PM
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > Original... Copy... Reproduction. ..
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > The emotional charge of these terms, as intended or interpreted, is
      > > intimately linked with the expectations and preferences of the individual
      > > collector. As is true -- I think -- of all "criticism" -- inclusive of both
      > > positive and negative observation, the selection of terms often reflects as
      > > much the inclinations of the speaker as the objective reading of the work
      > > and is not necessarily meant to be pejorative or dismissive of others'
      > > objects or selections. Among us we find those whose requirements are
      > > rigidly bounded by reasonable proof of ritual authenticity with
      > > documentation of age and usage while others tend toward a more fluid
      > > acceptance of works of excellent craftsmanship that yield aesthetic
      > > satisfaction. I don't think this is a question of euphemistic reference so
      > > much as sensitivity both to the range of objects in circulation and
      > > recognizing the diversity of preferences.
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > Too, there are always various aspects of truth and value where
      > > ambiguity persists. For instance, the value of the Punu mask presented by
      > > Margalit and recently discusse d is currently afloat between its recent sale
      > > price and its current asking price. The mask, as expressed, is strikingly
      > > serene and beautiful to some (aesthetic and emotional appeal being one point
      > > of valuation perhaps). The mask also bears evidence of age through its
      > > documented history. Yet, at the same time, the images viewed on-line are
      > > not wholly suggestive to me of usage. [This may be the result of the
      > > inadequacy of photographic inspection.) So, while its mid-20th century
      > > appearance and its previous inclusion in a well-regarded collection confirms
      > > origin during a period from which usage and ritual authenticity may be
      > > inferred, one might also wonder whether it was indeed a ritually authentic
      > > mask at the time it was collected. Age and authenticity are often
      > > conflated, so
      > > > it
      > > >
      > > > > is necessary to be prudent with the assumptions that are drawn. There
      > > is significant data to suggest that works collected as early as the
      > > early-20th century Congo mission and installed as canons of authentic
      > > African ritual art were presumed perhaps erroneously as authentic but may
      > > rather have been produced or modified to suit the expectations of the
      > > collectors.. . (Much greater detail on this issue is Enid Schildkrout and
      > > Curtis Keim's The Scramble for Art in Central Africa.) An instance such as
      > > this is but one situation wherein it is difficult to discern the points of
      > > misinformation and/or erroneous conclusion as well as to determine the
      > > intentionality or innocence motivating this disjunction between actuality
      > > and description.
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > Further, traditional forms can take on new meanings and significance
      > > and serve new purposes in transforming societies. For many, the "copy" or
      > > "reproduction" is seen as a meaningful contemporary production with visual
      > > appeal and significance that is not grounded in the domain of collector's
      > > value but rather in appreciation of the resilience and reformulation of
      > > traditional practices and forms. For disparate requirements, expectations
      > > and definitions to co-exist harmoniously, I would simply suggest
      > > consideration of the fact that objects accumulate associations -- not unlike
      > > a real patina or a false surface -- that are difficult to read and to
      > > unravel with absolute certainty. As we navigate the terrain of both
      > > objective truth and subjective preference, it is always helpful to suspend
      > > judgment on the conflicting assumptions and commit ourselves to critical
      > > thinking and intuition and an open mind and eye and to respect the diversity
      > > of both objects
      > > >
      > > > > and collectors.
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > Lee
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > On Jun 24, 2009, at 5:36 AM, M.E.F. wrote:
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
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      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > I hesitate to say this, as I have not always been nice and friendly but
      > > euphemisms do nothing good in the service of truth. If a carving is a copy,
      > > then it is a copy. The system is precisely to look at published pieces and
      > > carve similar ones. Collectors and aficionados alike are not well served by
      > > whitewashing this fact. Sorry!
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > --- On Wed, 6/24/09, G. Wood <gwood1945@ yahoo. com> wrote:
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > From: G. Wood <gwood1945@yahoo. com>
      > > >
      > > > > Subject: Re: [African_Arts] Re: Staff head/fetish?
      > > >
      > > > > To: African_Arts@ yahoogroups. com
      > > >
      > > > > Date: Wednesday, June 24, 2009, 12:15 AM
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > Copy or reproduction or similar, good call from M. Vanden Heuvel. (I
      > > hope I did not butcher your name) I think it is terrific that the group has
      > > an opportunity to compare a museum piece to one acquired recently. Much to
      > > learn here, thanks.
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > From: Joanne <joanner10001@ yahoo.com>
      > > >
      > > > > To: African_Arts@ yahoogroups. com
      > > >
      > > > > Sent: Tuesday, June 23, 2009 2:09:48 PM
      > > >
      > > > > Subject: Re: [African_Arts] Re: Staff head/fetish?
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > I rather object to the term "copy." I'd say that it is one similar to
      > > the one at the BM. Which says nothing at all about age or provenance, but
      > > isn't nearly so dismissive.
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > Joanne
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > --- On Tue, 6/23/09, gvdheuvel <g. vanden.heuvel@ ...> wrote:
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > From: gvdheuvel <g.vanden.heuvel@ chello.nl>
      > > >
      > > > > Subject: [African_Arts] Re: Staff head/fetish?
      > > >
      > > > > To: African_Arts@ yahoogroups. com
      > > >
      > > > > Date: Tuesday, June 23, 2009, 11:53 AM
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > This is a copy of a Luba object in the collection of the British
      > > Museum, and depicted in Tom Phillips (ed.), "Africa. The Art of a
      > > Continent", London, 1996, Nr. 4.63 (Six-headed figure).
      > > >
      > > > > http://www.britishm useum.org/ explore/highligh ts/highlight_
      > > objects/aoa/ s/six-headed_ figure.aspx
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > -
      > > >
      > > > > _
      > > >
      > > > >
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      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > Access Yahoo!7 Mail on your mobile. Anytime. Anywhere. Show me how.
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      >
    • Steve Price
      Hi Ricardo I understand your point, but I disagree. The ability to manipulate supply and demand in the marketplace for African art extends all the way down to
      Message 51 of 51 , Jul 1, 2009
      • 0 Attachment
        Hi Ricardo

        I understand your point, but I disagree. The ability to manipulate supply and demand in the marketplace for African art extends all the way down to the level of the individual purchaser and the individual item.

        Incidentally, I didn't raise the matter of the commodities market, Felix did. His point was that the law of supply and demand doesn't work, and that the shortage of oil proved it. My reply was simply that there is no shortage of oil, and that its recent price varied dramatically in response to changing demand, just as the law of S & D predicts.

        Regards

        Steve Price


        --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, Ricardo de Matos <dematos.ricardo@...> wrote:
        >
        > Hi Steve and Margalit,
        >
        > Just some comments about some of your statements.
        >
        > *
        > >
        > > Supply and demand are always balanced
        > >
        > *
        > Might be, with an infinite number of suppliers and consumers sharing all the
        > available information about their goods, no transport costs,etc......
        > As a matter of fact, in the real economy they are nearly never balanced
        > because of so many distortions : imperfect information, imperfect markets,
        > monopolies, .....that's one of the driving forces behind state
        > intervention.
        >
        > You can´t compare tribal art markets with commodity markets. 1 gallon of
        > refined oil sold today will be the same as one gallon sold tomorrow. It
        > doesn't work like that for a Baule figure.
        >
        > Best,
        > Ricardo
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > 2009/6/29 Steve Price <sprice@...>
        >
        > >
        > >
        > > Hi Felix
        > >
        > > Supply and demand are always balanced because price (value) changes
        > > whenever either of them changes. Supply and demand can both be manipulated,
        > > and often are. I don't understand why you think manipulation makes demand
        > > (or supply) "artificial", although I understand why you don't like the form
        > > that it takes in the African art market.
        > >
        > > Regards
        > >
        > > Steve Price
        > >
        > > --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com <African_Arts%40yahoogroups.com>,
        > > Aaron Weston <impex7@> wrote:
        > > >
        > > > What if the demand is artificial, in other words, manipulated?
        > > >
        > > > Felix
        > > >
        > > > --- On Sun, 6/28/09, Steve Price <sprice@> wrote:
        > > >
        > > > From: Steve Price <sprice@>
        > >
        > > > Subject: [African_Arts] Re: Staff head/fetish? Original, Copy,
        > > Reproduction...
        > > > To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com <African_Arts%40yahoogroups.com>
        > > > Date: Sunday, June 28, 2009, 9:40 AM
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > Hi Margalit
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > You wrote,
        > > >
        > > > "Value is created by demand."
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > Right on, and everyone needs to be reminded of it often. Maybe the only
        > > rule in economics that actually works is that supply and demand are always
        > > in balance because cost (value) changes every time one of them changes. It
        > > applies to African art just as much as it does to everything else.
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > Regards
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > Steve Price
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > --- In African_Arts@ yahoogroups. com, "M.E.F." <mfliegelmann@ ...>
        > > wrote:
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > I think the debate on authenticity has gone off the rail. All those who
        > > think that "out there" there is that which is "really authentic and
        > > valuable" and that which is not, ignore the nature of social facts which
        > > ultimately are only validated by those who uphold them one way or another.
        > > There are no absolute facts but those people create.
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > Value is created by demand.
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > Are all people who value gold or dollars or whatever "foolish"? Why is
        > > gold more valuable than copper? Why are glass beads worthless and diamonds
        > > not? (I am being deliberately provocative and drawing a caricature of
        > > value).
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > I would not use the term foolish but would say that some of the rather
        > > more abrasive and self assured attitudes here have been two dimensional and
        > > naive. The attitudes, not the people who voice them!
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > Margalit---
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > On Sat, 6/27/09, William Klebous <klebous@ > wrote:
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > From: William Klebous <klebous@ >
        > > >
        > > > > Subject: Re: [African_Arts] Re: Staff head/fetish? Original, Copy,
        > > Reproduction. ..
        > > >
        > > > > To: African_Arts@ yahoogroups. com
        > > >
        > > > > Date: Saturday, June 27, 2009, 5:10 AM
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > >> What are we left with then? On the one hand a lot of foolish people
        > > who are willing
        > > >
        > > > > >> to spend tens of thousands of dollars/euros on the ability of
        > > someone to "create"
        > > >
        > > > > >> authenticity, and someone else to perpetuate it, or on the other
        > > hand, the
        > > >
        > > > > >> probability that aesthetic and emotional connections to a piece of
        > > art are the
        > > >
        > > > > >> only reliable standards to apply to value.
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > >> Where do I have this wrong?
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > You have this wrong, in my opinion, because of the same black-and-white
        > > thinking
        > > >
        > > > > that produced the original problem (that things MUST simply be either
        > > authentic or
        > > >
        > > > > inauthentic) . In your case this faulty mode of thinking produces the
        > > result that
        > > >
        > > > > authenticity (of an object without sufficient documentation) MUST be
        > > provable or
        > > >
        > > > > else its consideration is useless.
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > I think this problem is simply solved by replacing thinking about
        > > whether an object
        > > >
        > > > > is authentic by instead thinking about its probable degree of
        > > authenticity.
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > The ideal then becomes a pre-outside- influence object used by a number
        > > of
        > > >
        > > > > generations and then stolen, because nothing that culturally precious
        > > would
        > > >
        > > > > ever be sold or given away. That and only that is 100% authentic.
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > A Fang mask legitimately carved and briefly danced in the 1950's and
        > > then
        > > >
        > > > > willingly sold, I would give maybe a 50% authenticity rating, because
        > > of the
        > > >
        > > > > strong influence of collecting by that time.
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > How about a nearly identical Fang mask, only not danced? Still about
        > > 40%
        > > >
        > > > > as far as I'm concerned.
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > What if both of those masks show probable artificial aging? Well,
        > > assuming
        > > >
        > > > > that it was well-done, I'd only drop each about another 10%.
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > Then you take the authenticty rating of an object, however YOU choose
        > > to
        > > >
        > > > > arrive at it, and multiply it (according to YOUR formula) by the other
        > > important
        > > >
        > > > > variables (likely age, how appropriate the style, how beautiful,
        > > provenance) and
        > > >
        > > > > PRESTO! you have arrived at a value.
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > By the way, once you remove the hype and absolute thinking about
        > > authenticity,
        > > >
        > > > > this is basically how the auction market works anyway.
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > My only complaint is that it is not currently acknowledged, and that
        > > collectors do
        > > >
        > > > > not currently demand that every dealer and auction house provide age
        > > and authenticty
        > > >
        > > > > estimates with every piece offered.
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > WK
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > --- On Fri, 26/6/09, Aboriginals% 3A%20Art% 20of%20the%
        > > 20First%20Person <sanibelart@ comcast. net> wrote:
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > From: Aboriginals% 3A%20Art% 20of%20the% 20First%20Person <sanibelart@comcast. net>
        > > >
        > > > > Subject: Re: [African_Arts] Re: Staff head/fetish? Original, Copy,
        > > Reproduction. ..
        > > >
        > > > > To: "African Arts" <African_Arts@ yahoogroups. com>
        > > >
        > > > > Received: Friday, 26 June, 2009, 11:19 PM
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > It seems clear to me that Lee's thesis suggests that nothing can be
        > > trusted in African tribal art. How do we know if any mask has been danced or
        > > any object used ritually in anyway?
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > Age is no determinant, apparently. Even if acquired in the mid-19th
        > > century, if provable, there is no guarantee of tribal use before
        > > acquisition.
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > Patina or wear is no determinant - too easily faked.
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > Provenance is no determinant, too easily falsified.
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > Even photography is questionable, between the ability to photoshop and
        > > the real possibility that the item shown in the photo is not the same item
        > > as that being disputed.
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > What are we left with then? On the one hand a lot of foolish people who
        > > are willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars/euros on the ability of
        > > someone to "create" authenticity, and someone else to perpetuate it, or on
        > > the other hand, the probability that aesthetic and emotional connections to
        > > a piece of art are the only reliable standards to apply to value.
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > Where do I have this wrong?
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > William Waites
        > > >
        > > > > ----- Original Message -----
        > > >
        > > > > From: "M.E.F." <mfliegelmann@ yahoo.com>
        > > >
        > > > > To: "African Arts" <African_Arts@ yahoogroups. com>
        > > >
        > > > > Sent: Friday, June 26, 2009 8:29:00 AM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
        > > >
        > > > > Subject: Re: [African_Arts] Re: Staff head/fetish? Original, Copy,
        > > Reproduction. ..
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > Dear Lee,
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > What makes you think the Punu mask has not been danced? M
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > --- On Wed, 6/24/09, Lee Rubinstein <LeeRubinstein@ mac.com> wrote:
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > From: Lee Rubinstein <LeeRubinstein@ mac.com>
        > > >
        > > > > Subject: Re: [African_Arts] Re: Staff head/fetish? Original, Copy,
        > > Reproduction. ..
        > > >
        > > > > To: African_Arts@ yahoogroups. com
        > > >
        > > > > Date: Wednesday, June 24, 2009, 8:24 PM
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > Original... Copy... Reproduction. ..
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > The emotional charge of these terms, as intended or interpreted, is
        > > intimately linked with the expectations and preferences of the individual
        > > collector. As is true -- I think -- of all "criticism" -- inclusive of both
        > > positive and negative observation, the selection of terms often reflects as
        > > much the inclinations of the speaker as the objective reading of the work
        > > and is not necessarily meant to be pejorative or dismissive of others'
        > > objects or selections. Among us we find those whose requirements are
        > > rigidly bounded by reasonable proof of ritual authenticity with
        > > documentation of age and usage while others tend toward a more fluid
        > > acceptance of works of excellent craftsmanship that yield aesthetic
        > > satisfaction. I don't think this is a question of euphemistic reference so
        > > much as sensitivity both to the range of objects in circulation and
        > > recognizing the diversity of preferences.
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > Too, there are always various aspects of truth and value where
        > > ambiguity persists. For instance, the value of the Punu mask presented by
        > > Margalit and recently discusse d is currently afloat between its recent sale
        > > price and its current asking price. The mask, as expressed, is strikingly
        > > serene and beautiful to some (aesthetic and emotional appeal being one point
        > > of valuation perhaps). The mask also bears evidence of age through its
        > > documented history. Yet, at the same time, the images viewed on-line are
        > > not wholly suggestive to me of usage. [This may be the result of the
        > > inadequacy of photographic inspection.) So, while its mid-20th century
        > > appearance and its previous inclusion in a well-regarded collection confirms
        > > origin during a period from which usage and ritual authenticity may be
        > > inferred, one might also wonder whether it was indeed a ritually authentic
        > > mask at the time it was collected. Age and authenticity are often
        > > conflated, so
        > > > it
        > > >
        > > > > is necessary to be prudent with the assumptions that are drawn. There
        > > is significant data to suggest that works collected as early as the
        > > early-20th century Congo mission and installed as canons of authentic
        > > African ritual art were presumed perhaps erroneously as authentic but may
        > > rather have been produced or modified to suit the expectations of the
        > > collectors.. . (Much greater detail on this issue is Enid Schildkrout and
        > > Curtis Keim's The Scramble for Art in Central Africa.) An instance such as
        > > this is but one situation wherein it is difficult to discern the points of
        > > misinformation and/or erroneous conclusion as well as to determine the
        > > intentionality or innocence motivating this disjunction between actuality
        > > and description.
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > Further, traditional forms can take on new meanings and significance
        > > and serve new purposes in transforming societies. For many, the "copy" or
        > > "reproduction" is seen as a meaningful contemporary production with visual
        > > appeal and significance that is not grounded in the domain of collector's
        > > value but rather in appreciation of the resilience and reformulation of
        > > traditional practices and forms. For disparate requirements, expectations
        > > and definitions to co-exist harmoniously, I would simply suggest
        > > consideration of the fact that objects accumulate associations -- not unlike
        > > a real patina or a false surface -- that are difficult to read and to
        > > unravel with absolute certainty. As we navigate the terrain of both
        > > objective truth and subjective preference, it is always helpful to suspend
        > > judgment on the conflicting assumptions and commit ourselves to critical
        > > thinking and intuition and an open mind and eye and to respect the diversity
        > > of both objects
        > > >
        > > > > and collectors.
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > Lee
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > On Jun 24, 2009, at 5:36 AM, M.E.F. wrote:
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > I hesitate to say this, as I have not always been nice and friendly but
        > > euphemisms do nothing good in the service of truth. If a carving is a copy,
        > > then it is a copy. The system is precisely to look at published pieces and
        > > carve similar ones. Collectors and aficionados alike are not well served by
        > > whitewashing this fact. Sorry!
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > --- On Wed, 6/24/09, G. Wood <gwood1945@ yahoo. com> wrote:
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > From: G. Wood <gwood1945@yahoo. com>
        > > >
        > > > > Subject: Re: [African_Arts] Re: Staff head/fetish?
        > > >
        > > > > To: African_Arts@ yahoogroups. com
        > > >
        > > > > Date: Wednesday, June 24, 2009, 12:15 AM
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > Copy or reproduction or similar, good call from M. Vanden Heuvel. (I
        > > hope I did not butcher your name) I think it is terrific that the group has
        > > an opportunity to compare a museum piece to one acquired recently. Much to
        > > learn here, thanks.
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > From: Joanne <joanner10001@ yahoo.com>
        > > >
        > > > > To: African_Arts@ yahoogroups. com
        > > >
        > > > > Sent: Tuesday, June 23, 2009 2:09:48 PM
        > > >
        > > > > Subject: Re: [African_Arts] Re: Staff head/fetish?
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > I rather object to the term "copy." I'd say that it is one similar to
        > > the one at the BM. Which says nothing at all about age or provenance, but
        > > isn't nearly so dismissive.
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > Joanne
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > --- On Tue, 6/23/09, gvdheuvel <g. vanden.heuvel@ ...> wrote:
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > From: gvdheuvel <g.vanden.heuvel@ chello.nl>
        > > >
        > > > > Subject: [African_Arts] Re: Staff head/fetish?
        > > >
        > > > > To: African_Arts@ yahoogroups. com
        > > >
        > > > > Date: Tuesday, June 23, 2009, 11:53 AM
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > This is a copy of a Luba object in the collection of the British
        > > Museum, and depicted in Tom Phillips (ed.), "Africa. The Art of a
        > > Continent", London, 1996, Nr. 4.63 (Six-headed figure).
        > > >
        > > > > http://www.britishm useum.org/ explore/highligh ts/highlight_
        > > objects/aoa/ s/six-headed_ figure.aspx
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > -
        > > >
        > > > > _
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
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        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > > Access Yahoo!7 Mail on your mobile. Anytime. Anywhere. Show me how.
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        >
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