Danh Vo - New Now: Modern & Contemporary Art London Friday, April 19, 2024 | Phillips
  • “When you examine the present you must understand your past: the past that has identified your own present.”
    —Danh Vo
    Along with numerous objects acquired by Danh Vo and Marian Goodman Gallery for Vo’s 2013 show Mother Tongue, Lot 97. Baule Mask, Ivory Coast was a focal point of this quasi-archaeological project that exhibited objects from the Collection of former United States Secretary of Defence - Robert McNamara. Sold at a bespoke auction celebrating the Estate of McNamara the previous year, Vo carefully appropriated and reconfigured objects like Lot 97. Baule Mask, Ivory Coast from totems of political history into a conceptual artwork. The present work, which was a keepsake from McNamara's time as president of the World Bank, not only points to the inherent force of objects from US state business but also stands as emblem for colonial diplomacy.


    The Baule Mask or more traditional known as “mblo” served as an idealized representation of a prominent member of the Baule community. With lustrously carved surfaces and intricate detail, the “mblo” was often appreciated in Baule culture as a form of artistic expression. Often commissioned by a man to pay homage to a female, the masks represent both strength and power within the community. Vo’s appropriation of this object has not only dismantled and isolated the power once associated behind this relic but also shows Vo’s deep interest in connecting historical artifacts with the present.

    • Provenance

      Marian Goodman Gallery, New York
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      New York, Marian Goodman Gallery, Danh Vo: Mother Tongue, 20 March - 27 April 2013


Lot 97. Baule Mask, Ivory Coast

28.5 x 16.8 x 10.2 cm (11 1/4 x 6 5/8 x 4 in.)
Executed in 2013.

Full Cataloguing

£10,000 - 15,000 ‡♠

Sold for £25,400

Contact Specialist

Charlotte Gibbs
Head of New Now: Modern & Contemporary Art
+44 20 7901 7993

New Now: Modern & Contemporary Art

London Auction 19 April 2024