Curated by Christa Clarke, R. Tripp Evans, Ellen McBreen, and Fanny Wonu Veys, with Vivien Greene.

I found myself the proud possessor of 12 fantastic artifacts, consisting of masks and sculptures from New Guinea, the Belgian Congo, the French Sudan, Peru, Brazil, Mexico and New Ireland.

Peggy Guggenheim, Out of This Century (London: Andre Deutsch, 1979)


Inaugurated at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection on February 15, 2020 and closed just after three weeks due to the pandemic, on October 6, 2021 the exhibition Migrating Objects: Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas in the Peggy Guggenheim Collection reopens to the public. It will be on view through January 10, 2022 thanks to the generosity of Pilar Crespi Robert—member of the Advisory Board of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and Chair of the Executive Committee—and her husband Stephen Robert, Trustee of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York.

Peggy Guggenheim challenged boundaries as a patron and collector and is celebrated for her groundbreaking European and American modern art collection. Migrating Objects: Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas in the Peggy Guggenheim Collection focuses on a lesser-known, but crucial episode in Guggenheim’s collecting: her turn in the 1950s and ’60s to works created by artists in Africa, Oceania, and the indigenous Americas.

Ellen McBreen introduces the exhibition

Migrating Objects represents a remarkable occasion to view 35 rarely seen non-Western artworks Guggenheim collected, shown at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection as a cohesive whole for the first time. This exhibition presents Guggenheim’s African, Oceanic, and indigenous Americas objects in groupings privileging their original contexts or, alternately, in dialogue with European works from her collection by avant-garde artists who appropriated ideas from cultures beyond Europe’s borders. These opposing modes of display enable an exploration of the flawed narratives that Western culture imposed on objects of this kind.

"Migrating Objects" in Focus: #1

What is the relationship between a Kota reliquary figure and the art of Pablo Picasso? With Ellen McBreen.

"Migrating Objects" in Focus: #2

Two works from Northern New Ireland, Papua New Guinea. With Fanny Wonu Veys.

"Migrating Objects" in Focus: #3

How did the artist and collector Robert Brady influence Peggy Guggenheim and her collecting of non-Western objects? With Vivien Greene.
Courtesy The Barnes Foundation, and Museo Robert Brady.

"Migrating Objects" in Focus: #4

Two terracotta figures from Ancient West Mexico. With R. Tripp Evans.

"Migrating Objects" in Focus: #5

The Nigerian headdress (Ago Egungun) produced by the workshop of Oniyide Adugbologe. With Christa Clarke.


Flute figure, late 19th – early 20th century, unrecorded Chambri artist, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea , wood, dog teeth, conus shell, plant fiber, natural pigment, 49 x 8 x 6 cm. Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice (Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York) 76.2553 PG 239

D’mba headdress, probably first half of 20th century, unrecorded Baga artist, Guinea, wood and brass tacks, 142 x 40 x 75 cm. Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice (Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York) 76.2553 PG 243

Female figure, 300 BCE–400 CE, unrecorded Nayarit artist (Ixtlán del Río culture), ancient West Mexico, slip-painted terracotta 42 x 24 x 13 cm. Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice (Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York) 76.2553 PG 264

Migrating Objects emerges from an extended period of research and discussion on this largely ignored area of Guggenheim’s collection ‎by a Curatorial Advisory Committee of experts, which has led to exciting findings, including the reattribution of individual works, among them the Nigerian headdress (Ago Egungun) produced by the workshop of Oniyide Adugbologe (ca. 1875–1949), which is on view in the exhibition.

The exhibition’s Curatorial Advisory Committee comprises Christa Clarke, Independent Curator and Scholar, Arts of Global Africa, and Affiliate, Hutchins Center for African & African American Research, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.; R. Tripp Evans, Professor, History of Art, Wheaton College, Mass.; Ellen McBreen, Associate Professor, History of Art, Wheaton College, Mass.; and Fanny Wonu Veys, Curator, Oceania, National Museum of World Cultures, The Netherlands; with Vivien Greene, Senior Curator, 19th- and Early 20th-Century Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, who edited the exhibition catalogue.


The exhibition catalogue includes essays by the scholars of the Advisory Curatorial Commitee: Ellen McBreen, "Migrating Objects: From Maker to Museum" (read an excerpt); Christa Clarke, “‘Fantastic Artifacts’”: Peggy Guggenheim and African Art at Mid-Century" (read an excerpt); Fanny Wonu Veys, "Peggy Guggenheim and the Pacific"; R. Tripp Evans, "Guises of Commemoration: Peggy Guggenheim and the Funerary Arts of the Americas"; plates of the works in the collection, and a selected bibliography.
The volume (two editions, one in English and one in Italian) is a co-publication of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection with Marsilio, Venice.

A rich calendar of public programs accompanies the exhibition. All activities and events are inspired by the exhibition’s themes and are conceived for a range of audiences.

Programs focus on the notion of “migration” as “the permanent or temporary movement of groups of people from one country, place, or locality to another due to a variety of reasons, namely those related to improving one’s living conditions.” (Dizionario di Storia Treccani, 2010). Programs will investigate on multiple levels the consequences of such movement on the part of both people and objects—who bring with them a diversity of cultural, social, and religious values.

public programs

Kids Days

Workshops for children ages 4 to 10.
November 21, 2021, 3 p.m.
December 19, 2021, 3 p.m.

Migrating Objects: Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas in the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, has received the patronage of the UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency). The exhibition program of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection is supported by the museum’s Advisory Committee. Educational activities related to the exhibition are underwritten by the Araldi Guinetti Foundation, Vaduz. Exhibitions at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection are supported by the Institutional Patrons, EFG, Lavazza, Sanlorenzo, and the companies which comprise the Guggenheim Intrapresæ group.

With the support of
  • ​​​​​EFG
  • Lavazza
  • Sanlorenzo
The exhibition is made possible by
  • Aermec + Allegrini + Apice + Arper + Davide Groppi + Distilleria Nardini + Florim + Foodies Bros + Gruppo Campari + Hangar Design Group + Istituto Europeo di Design + Mapei + René Caovilla + Rubelli + Swatch
public programs are made possible by

Fondazione Araldi Guinetti, Vaduz

In 2018 the Peggy Guggenheim Collection joined ASviS, the Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development that promotes the 17 Goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda. Public programs are part of this awareness process as they address, in particular, Goal 4 to ensure quality education, Goal 5 to achieve gender equality and Goal 10 to reduce inequality within and among countries.

under the auspices of