Now on Exhibit
Members opening, November 2. -
Form & Function - Ethnographic Art from Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
Form and Function explores the idea that the everyday can be beautiful. Through a carefully curated selection of objects culled from the collection of local resident David Baas, visitors are exposed to an array of beautifully made pieces intended to perform everyday functions such as storage, cooking, protection from the cold, and the like. Many of the pieces exhibit careful repairs, which illustrate the value that is placed on them by their makers and users. A lifetime collector, David's extensive travels in India, China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Africa, and Southeast Asia have allowed him to amass a wide ranging and culturally diverse collection consisting of more than 300 objects, a sample of which is represented here. The exhibited collection includes pieces made of ceramic, wooden, textile, metal and basketry that date from the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Baas received a Bachelor's degree in English from Hope College and a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Arizona State University, Tempe. He became a teacher of English as a second language in Japan and Saudi Arabia. During his teaching sojourns and travels, Baas became intimately aware of the art and artifacts of the cultures in which he was living, and his appetite for collecting began. Patience, restraint and a discerning eye have produced a collection of objects that are superior to selections offered by street vendors or at tourist market stalls. In the exhibit, this discernment is evident in that a large part of the experience for the visitor is seeing the mute signs of use that the pieces display. The wear and repairs to the objects as they were used in daily life have created a beautiful patina, which has been carefully preserved.
Logging season in Michigan ran from September to April. A typical camp consisted of 100 men and 12-18 teams of horses. To house the crew there was a bunkhouse in which all of the men slept, a cook's building for eating and stable to accommodate the horses. Waking to the crushing cold , the men were out of their bunks by 4am. Breakfast as at 4:30 and the workday started at 5. After a short lunch at noon in the field it was back to work until sundown.