Our 2/9/12 opening for our new exhibition, Life in Miniature: Asante Goldweights and Sculpture, was our best yet! Here are some pictures of the installation, which is on view until 7/27/12:
Here’s the opening wall text written by our guest curator, Kristen Windmuller:
For almost three centuries, the Asante of Ghana weighed gold dust with the aid of elaborate weights—mrammuo—cast in the shapes of humans, animals and objects. Talented Asante goldsmiths are estimated to have cast some three million of these brass weights, whose functional forms also represented proverbs.
Beginning around 1946, Chaim Gross bought his first goldweights, sparking a lifelong passion. His collection started with just nineteen weights, and as the years progressed, grew into the thousands. To look into his cabinets and drawers of weights is to be captivated by a blur of brass, overwhelmed by the sheer numbers. Each weight demands a closer look, and slowly, individual forms take shape; a bird drinking from a basin, a mother cradling her child, an inept hunter reversing roles with his prey. Just inches high, every expertly sculpted weight is a piece of life in miniature, reflecting the people and culture from where it came.
Gross also collected a variety of carved wood objects from Ghana that are featured in the exhibition, including a splendid game board and elegant polychrome bird whose forms were also cast as goldweights. Together, these objects—both large and small—reflect the artistic sensibilities and cultural values of the Asante and their neighbors.