‘Moon Dancers: Yup’ik Masks’
“At the Di Donna Galleries on Madison Avenue,” writes Gini Alhadeff, “the masks of the Yup’ik, an indigenous people related to the Inuit, seem to float off the dark blue walls where they hang, between paintings by Yves Tanguy and André Masson, Joan Miró and Enrico Donati, Victor Brauner and Wolfgang Paalen—all Surrealists, most of whom fled wartime Europe in the 1940s for New York. The connection between the Surrealists’ productions and the Yup’ik artefacts in the installation is never direct: they seem, rather, to have drifted together naturally.
“The first mask on entering, from Goodnews Bay, Alaska, which once belonged to André Breton, has one round eye, carved out, and one slanted, like an almond set at an angle. The nostrils are lopsided; one is graced by whiskers, the other by a kind of eyebrow. A little wooden fish is poised to jump into the mask’s mouth. Hands emerge from its temples. Nearby is a painting by Joan Miró—Peinture, (La Sirène) (1927)—in which a flowing curvy figure consists of splotches of color, suggesting an arm or the tail of a siren, with a little fish poised over its face.”
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