The Reception of African Art in the West
Twentieth-century-cultural relativism and Pablo Picasso
All alone in that awful museum with masks, dolls made by the redskins, dusty manikins. Les Demoiselles d’Avignon must have come to me that very day, but not at all because of the forms; because it was my first exorcism painting — yes absolutely!…The masks weren’t just like any other pieces of sculpture. Not at all. They were magic things. But why weren’t the Egyptian pieces or the Chaldean? We hadn’t realized it. ‘Those were primitive, not magic things. The Negro pieces were mediators. They were against everything — against unknown, threatening spirits. I always looked at fetishes. I understood; I too am against everything. I understood what the Negroes used their sculpture for. Why sculpt like that and not some other way? After all, they weren’t Cubists! Since Cubism didn’t exist.