Artists in the History

Wangechi Mutu

If you look at portraits of busts such as Dreamcatcher and Rose Quartz (both 2016) you will see that they are housed in galleries dedicated to Rodin’s early work and his works in marble and plaster that are mostly dedicated to a portrait bust, with rare exceptions and whole figures. Specific elements of Mutus’ art that place her in this genre include her fusion of humans and machines or cyborgs in collages such as Family Tree [42] and The End of Eating Everything.

Monuments and figures from ancient mythologies such as the Dantes Inferno, presented in Rodin’s Gate of Hell (1917) are engaged in dialog with Mutus, new hybrid mythologies of Afrofuturism, Posthumanism and Feminism, which are visually presented and brought to life through busts, full-length sculptures, films and collages that challenge historical and artistic storytelling. Mutus’ sensitivity not only matches but elevates the greatness of Legion of Honor.

Mutu’s personal history, originating from both Nairobi and New York, allows him to meet materiality and historical ideologies, rather than divide them by creating powerful and cold-blooded figures that are hybrids of human, plant, animal and machine forms. First recognized for her collages, Mutu began her career by combining ink and paint with snippets from fashion magazines, National Geographic and vintage illustrations.

He has painted and created collages and videos about the female body since his time at Cooper Union. The first retrospective of Mutus in the United States, hosted by the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina in 2013, toured the country in 2014 and included three recently commissioned works, including his first animated feature, The End of Eating Everything ( 2013 ), for which he glued the head of record holder Santigold to a huge amorphous body to create a glorious

In 2016. Mutu opened a studio in Kenya and began dividing his time between Brooklyn and Nairobi. Mutu moved to the United States to study art in 1992, earning her BA from Cooper Union in 1996 and her MA from Yale University in 2000.

Since then he has spawned an artistic practice using a wide range of media including video, sculpture, performance, installation and paperwork centered on issues of ritual, race, consumerism and identity politics. His most famous work is his magazine collages, begun in 2002 and continuing today.

Wangechi Mutu refers in his work to the politics of identity by juxtaposing images and materials from historic and contemporary sources. The contemporary Kenyan artist Wangechi Mutu has contributed to the Artstor Digital Library about 100 images of his work. Wangechi Mutu was born in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1972 and works between New York and Nairobi.

In 2019, Wangechi Mutu was presented at the Whitney Biennale and was commissioned to create sculptures for the niches of the Metropolitan Museum’s Fifth Avenue facade – the first such installation on the Metropolitan’s historical façade – inaugurating a new annual series. His work is also featured in the Rubell Museum’s 30 Americans traveling exhibition, which features works by many of the most significant African American artists of the last thirty years, currently on display at Columbia Museum of Art, South Carolina,

You probably never noticed the empty sculpture niches at the front doors of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I think that feminism in art has done a significant job and allows a multifaceted discussion of the female body. I don’t know where I am but I know that there are now commitments and people are receptive to work that is sensual in nature but criticizes the dehumanization or objectification of women’s bodies in magazines and in public images.

Over the past seven years I’ve returned to collage because there was more material available and this allowed me to create narrative work but with an unrealistic element.. I saw some of Picasso’s work and.. I liked the way he looked at things from different angles and yet ended up in the same plane as the painting and.. I really got carried away with this medium when.. I started creating collage figures of the female body in the Pin-up series.

The creatures as I created them were obviously not something that would ever be found in their original publications: two bronze figures of Shavasana, with sagging bodies covered in shiny nails and bright stilettos, violate the splendid isolation of the thinkers in the neoclassical palace of honor of the kings.

In the 1990s, Mutu moved to New York and in 1996 earned a Bachelor of Arts from Cooper’s Union for the Advancement of Arts and Sciences and an MA in sculpture from the Yale School of Arts.

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