#tbt Arts of the South Seas, which opened in January 1946, was a singularly comprehensive exhibition of artwork from Oceanic cultures. Part of a series of non-Western, non-modern art exhibitions, it featured more than 400 works of art from Polynesia, Micronesia, Melanesia, and Australia. In the accompanying catalogue, René d’Harnoncourt, the Museum’s Vice-President in Charge of Foreign Activities and Director of the Department of Manual Industry, explained the impetus for the exhibition: although Oceanic art was relatively unknown in the West, there was great “kinship between arts of the South Seas and recent movements in modern art such as Expressionism and Surrealism.” The most imposing object in the exhibition was a replica of a stone Moai (the well-known carved heads of Easter Island); at 11 feet tall, it could not fit in the elevators and was instead installed in the Museum’s entrance hall.
See exhibition views, images of art handlers with the massive Moai, and more at http://mo.ma/2jWl6hf. #52exhibitions #MoMAhistory