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Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey

Original Traveling Exhibition

March 21 – July 21, 2013
Wangechi Mutu, The end of eating Everything (still), 2013. Animated video (color, sound), 8:00 minutes 8:00 minute, 6 + 2 AP Video. Museum purchase. Commissioned by the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.

She’s giving us something more like an apocalyptic version of polymorphic perversity, a shot of the libidinal pleasure the art world so loves along with a series of fast, repeat jabs to the head it deserves.

Holland Cotter, The New York Times

Process, Inspiration and New Creation

The Nasher Museum organized Wangechi Mutu’s first survey in the United States, the most comprehensive and innovative show yet for this internationally renowned, multidisciplinary artist. The exhibition traveled to the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, and the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University.

Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey presented more than 50 works from the mid-1990s to the present, including collage, drawing, sculpture, installation and video. The exhibition featured many of the artist’s most iconic collages drawn from major international collections, rarely seen early works and new creations. The exhibition also unveiled the artist’s sketchbooks of intimate drawings that revealed her creative process and inspirations, on public view for the first time. Other new highlights included Mutu’s first-ever animated video, created in collaboration with Santigold, commissioned by the Nasher Museum. Mutu also transformed the gallery into an environmental installation, including a monumental wall drawing, which allowed visitors to immerse themselves in the artist’s work.

The exhibition was curated by Trevor Schoonmaker, Patsy R. and Raymond D. Nasher Curator of Contemporary Art at the Nasher Museum.

Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey was made possible by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Major support was provided by Marilyn M. Arthur, the Ford Foundation, the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, Katherine Thorpe, and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects. Additional generous support was provided by Duke University’s Council for the Arts; Gladstone Gallery, New York; Victoria Miro Gallery, London; the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources; Deborah DeMott; Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger; Kelly Braddy Van Winkle and Lance Van Winkle; Graduate Liberal Studies at Duke University; Mindy and Guy Solie; Richard Tigner; Gail Belvett; Ann Chanler and Andrew Schneman; Diane Evia-Lanevi and Ingemar Lanevi; and Angela O. Terry.

Video from artist Wangechi Mutu's residency at Duke, timed for the opening of Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey.
Artist Wangechi Mutu (center) leads a tour through her solo show at the Nasher Museum. Photo by J Caldwell.
Featured Featured Recent Acquisition

Wangechi Mutu, “Family Tree”

In advance of the exhibition, Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey, the Nasher Museum purchased Family Tree, a suite of 13 works on paper. Some additional…

Featured Featured Photo Gallery

Behind the Scenes

Wangechi Mutu visited the Nasher Museum during the installation her solo exhibition, Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey. Over the course of three days, the artist…

8 Images Published

Review in The New York Times

“Her way of staying fluid about who and what she is has been to invent her own brand of exoticism: sensual, transcultural, self-critical and increasingly sophisticated,” writes Holland Cotter in The New York Times. “In the process, she has become less of a collagist and more of a painter, moving her beyond initial strong stylistic debts to Hanna Hoch and Romare Bearden. And she has become more adept at varying the weight and tone of her work, so that it doesn’t fall into easy polemic or parody.”

Exhibition Catalogue

Exhibition catalogue published by the Nasher Museum
Exhibition catalogue published by the Nasher Museum

A richly illustrated 176-page, full-color catalogue was published by the Nasher Museum on the occasion of the exhibition Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey. The catalogue includes many images that highlight the most important and iconic works Wangechi Mutu has created since the mid-1990s, as well as portraying newer collages, drawings, videos and site-specific installations. The catalogue also offers an intimate look into her sketchbooks and includes an interview with the artist conducted by the exhibition’s curator, Trevor Schoonmaker. Essays by Schoonmaker, art historian Kristine Stiles and critic and musician Greg Tate are paired with an illustrated chronology of Mutu’s work.

The catalogue features images of the final gallery installation at the Nasher Museum. The catalogue was distributed by Duke University Press and is still available in the Nasher Museum Store.

Harper's Magazine

Wangechi Mutu’s work was featured in Harper’s magazine, within the Portfolio section, on January 23, 2013.

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