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Metropolitan Museum of Art curator explores African art history in Loyola public lecture

Loyola press release - October 7, 2013

Yaëlle Biro, assistant curator of African arts at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, will examine the role of archival research within the field of African art history during a free lecture at Loyola University New Orleans Thursday, Oct. 17.

“Mining Archives: Contributions to African Art History,” the inaugural event of the Cornet Archives Lecture Series, begins at 6:30 p.m. in Miller Hall, room 114.

Drawing upon her work as a curator and art historian on recent exhibitions, Biro will discuss how she uses archival resources to uncover when and how objects from Africa were introduced as art to European and North American audiences in the early 1900s. Such resources include photographic holdings, key dealers’ accounting books and inventories, collectors’ acquisition ledgers, and personal and institutional correspondence.

Recent exhibitions she has worked on include “African Art, New York, and the Avant-Garde,” which closed in September, and “The Nelson A. Rockefeller Vision: In Pursuit of the Best in the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas,” on display at the Met Oct. 8, 2013 to Oct. 5, 2014.

Biro’s lecture is made possible with the support of Loyola’s Françoise Billion Richardson Distinguished Professorship of the Frere Joseph Cornet Archives. Cornet studied indigenous art, music and ethnography in what is now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Included in the archives are as many as 150 field notebooks and 20,000 photographs. Cornet's archive is considered one of the most important African visual archives in the world and is housed in Special Collections and Archives at Loyola’s J. Edgar and Louise S. Monroe Library.