How to Read Oceanic Art Eric Kjellgren

The Metropolitan Museum of Art - How to Read
Publication date:
01 Jul 2014
Metropolitan Museum of Art
176 pages: 267 x 203mm
185 color illus.
Sales territories:

An engaging explanation of Oceanic art and an important gateway to wider appreciation of Oceanic heritage and visual culture

Art from Oceania, the region encompassing the islands of the central and south Pacific, spans hundreds of distinct artistic processes, formats, and mediums. Many people’s exposure to Oceanic art comes through its influence on the work of European artists, and therefore Oceanic works themselves often remain difficult for Western viewers to interpret and comprehend. How to Read Oceanic Art, the third book in a series of guides to understanding different artistic genres, helps elucidate this subject through explanation of specific objects.
The book analyzes the most illustrative Oceanic pieces from the Metropolitan Museum’s collection—including lively painted masks, powerful figurines, and intricately carved wooden poles—which together represent the extraordinary diversity of artistic traditions in the region. Attractive photography and clear, engaging texts explain how and why various works were made as well as how they were used. This publication is an invaluable resource for art historical study, and also an important gateway to wider appreciation of Oceanic heritage and visual culture.

Eric Kjellgren is Evelyn A. J. Hall and John A. Friede Associate Curator, Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

“Kjellgren deserves praise for including material expressions that are often neglected in the general literature on Pacific art . . . both engaging and attractive.”—Nicolas Garnier, Pacific Affairs