As part of Wangechi Mutu’s mid-career review at the Nasher Museum – A Fantastic Journey – the artist discusses her career trajectory and the importance of collage in contemporary art with Nasher Museum curator Trevor Schoonmaker. In this podcast, Wangechi talks about her diptych, Yo Mama, that she created 10 years ago.
I came upon Thomas Struth’s photograph, Museo del Prado 5, Madrid (2005). Struth is a well-known German photographer, and this piece is part of his acclaimed Museum series, which depicts individuals as they view various works of art. This photograph shows a group of uniformed students standing in front of Diego Velázquez’s Las Meninas (1565) and not a single one of these adolescents looks at the painting.
I could not be more excited about this upcoming exhibition, and not just because I was involved in the process. The Human Position will contain works from the Nasher Museum’s permanent collection that have not been recently displayed and will also bring together pieces that at first appear drastically different but actually have common themes and elements.
Within the dizzying spectrum of modern and contemporary artworks featured in the Nasher Museum’s current exhibitions, which sample everything from Ansel Adams’s distilled landscapes to Wangechi Mutu’s supernatural mediations on human form, a 5th-century BCE calyx krater may seem something of an outlier. How, you wonder, could the ancient Athenians have created anything even remotely comparable to the serene Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico or other-worldly Funkalicious fruit field?
Anthony Goicolea’s black and white digital combination print, Low Tide, 2007, shows an ocean bay besmirched by the hands of progress. Surrounded by natural rock formations, the once idyllic cove has been invaded by alien machinery.
The perspective of the camera angle is lower than the praying mantis and, in doing so, this normally insignificant insect becomes larger than life. Fink’s angle switches the roles of the human and the bug. We can see how the mantis must view its world.
In a process rife with self-reflection and self-awareness, Wangechi Mutu gives particular thought to traditional “clear-cut” categories like African/European, white/black, male/female, archaic/modern and religious/pornographic. She seems preoccupied with the binary, but instead of opting for one over the other, he splices together her own mutated view to create a “post-human” chimera.
The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University presents artist Wangechi Mutu’s first animated video, created in collaboration with recording artist Santigold and co-released by MOCAtv on YouTube. The 8-minute video, The End of eating Everything,marks the journey of a flying, planet-like creature navigating a bleak skyscape. This “sick planet” creature is lost in a polluted atmosphere, without grounding or roots, led by hunger towards its own destruction. The animation’s audio, also created by Mutu, fuses industrial and organic sounds.
Wangechi Mutu was at the Nasher Museum recently to install her solo exhibition, Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey. Over the course of three days, the artist created a large drawing on the entrance wall. In her work, she often combines found materials and magazine cutouts with sculpture and painted imagery