Today, we took advantage of beautiful late fall weather and drove into the country, and stopped by the small Katonah Museum of Art in Katonah, New York. The museum is a bit off the beaten path on Route 22, just south of the intersection with Route 35.
The museum currently shows the exhibit Ancient Art of the Cyclades, art created during the third millennium B.C. by craftsmen of the Cycladic islands in the Aegean Sea, in the white marble the islands are famous for. Items displayed are mostly small female “folded arm” figures, the rest are pixides and other vessels in various forms. Since there was no writing in the Cyclades at that point, the meaning of the figures is not known and can only be speculated about.
The New York Times had an illustrated review on November 5, 2006, “Before Venus,” but unfortunately it's not online, or at least, I could not find it, TimesSelect access notwithstanding.
“Folded arm” figures as discussed here.
Much more about the issue can be read by those with JSTOR access in the amply illustrated Painted Ladies of the Early Bronze Age, Elizabeth Hendrix, The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, New Series, Vol. 55, No. 3 (Winter, 1997), pp. 4-15. JSTOR has also other related entries which may be had by searching for “Cycladic figures”.
The guest curator, Pat Getz-Gentle, has written several books on early Cycladic Art, Early Cycladic Sculpture: An Introduction (Getty Trust Publications: J. Paul Getty Museum), Stone Vessels of the Cyclades in the Early Bronze Age, Early Cycladic Art in North American Collections, Personal Styles in Early Cycladic Sculpture, the latter not available on Amazon.com except Amazon Canada, but can be gotten directly from the publisher, Penn State Press.
In a juxtaposition on the idol theme, the museum also shows Wonder Women: Idols in Contemporary Art, a very imaginative exhibit ranging from subjects such as Wonder Woman herself, Barbie Doll, Marilyn Monroe and other actress idols to Georgia O'Keefe (Andy Warhol), Martha Stewart, and more.