In New York at least, the Brooklyn Museum has been a leader in the curatorial practice of juxtaposing art from disparate times, places, media and cultures. Its latest foray, which opens Friday, April 29, is at once wide yet focused, as its title attests. “Disguise: Masks and Global African Art” expands upon a show organized by the Seattle Art Museum, featuring more than 25 contemporary artists from Africa and of African descent from around the world, often representing them with several works each — photography, installation, drawing, sculpture and video.
Their efforts will be contextualized by a selection of traditional masks, headdresses and costumes, most, but not all, from earlier periods. Altogether, the show will trace the influence of masks and masquerade from the hearts of many African cultures and into the present. It should provide a rich opportunity to see what is gained, and sometimes lost, in transit. (Through Sept. 18, Brooklyn Museum; brooklynmuseum.org.)
- Roberta Smith