Cotter, “Philadelphia Offers a Full-Fledged Summer of African Art”

In Holland Cotter, “Philadelphia Offers a Full-Fledged Summer of African Art,” The New York Times, July 7, 2016, the author, Cotter wrote a discriptive summary of the exhibition called “Creative Africa” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Cotter had goals but also had concerns in this review.

First off, the goals were to explain and describe the several objects of African Art that were exposed to the Museum. Adding to that, he tried to explain their importance in history as well as the connection to the history of black artists in America. However, unlike the goals he had, there was just one big concern in his review. In this case he shared with his views that people viewed Africa as one big country, as one big culture.

The subject of this article is mainly describing the art pieces themselves, the importance of their materials, how they got to the museum and most importantly, their African background. The author Holland Cotter is presenting his ideas always in relation to different artists, or experts. The author comes up with a question about several artworks, and has the answer either explained by referring to the intention of their artists or have experts like Kristina Van Dyke answer these questions.

Personally, I truly believe the article connects with me. The author presents his ideas step by step, starting off with explaining materials and basic adjectives, and then going more into detail connecting it with the struggle of non-white artists in general, by quoting artists that “wanted to integrate black artists, African and African-American, into the panorama of world art”. The tone and style that the author is using is very descriptive which enables me to visualize this exhibition extremely well. In particular, the tone makes me more interested in the exhibition than before reading the article, because he is connecting these artworks extremely well to historical events and famous artists. To me, Holland Cotter stated his opinion about the exhibition in the first paragraph of the article, by saying ”That’s my only problem with “Creative Africa” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and my complaint stops with the title.” This sentence immediately showed that he will write in a positive manner about the exhibition. In my opinion, there was nothing that seemed confused or missing to me, I was very pleased about how informative this article was.

– Caroline Booth


Nari Ward, Mango Tourist, 2011 Foam, battery canisters, Sprague Electric Company resistors and capacitors, and mango seeds.


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