Saturday, June 15, 2013

El Anatsui

This week my FiberWorks group took a day trip to the Brooklyn Museum of Art to see the El Anatsui exhibit.  I had seen a smaller exhibit of his a couple of years ago at the Clark Museum and I was blown away, so when I heard of this exhibit I knew it was a must-see. He is an African artist who makes art out of what would normally be thrown away, such as metal strips from around the necks of liquor bottles and the lids from tin cans.  It is hard to believe that this is what he uses until you get up close and see that you can actually read the writing on the strips.


When you walked into the exhibit space, you were greeted by these see-thru pieces that hung from the ceiling, which was about 2 stories high.  It was breathtaking.

This piece was enormous, you can see how it goes from floor to ceiling.

Detail from above piece.

This blue and silver piece was stunning.  See how some of the blue spills onto the floor

         I loved the drapes and fold in this huge red piece.

Detail from above piece.

                             This piece was so big that it wrapped around the corner.


He did several floor pieces made out the lids from tin cans of milk, Peak brand, and some of the pieces were named  "Peak".


These pieces could be displayed at the whim of the curators. We decided that this tubular arrangement would have been better if the tubes had undulated.

I loved the way the pieces draped and folded just like fabric.  But this "fabric" was made from metal strips, with holes punched and joined together with little pieces of wire.

There were three different videos showing his staff at work.  I found them to be fascinating and it took 
some of the mystery out of his creations.  If you go to the exhibit, be sure to watch all three.

The Brooklyn Museum of Art is a wonderful museum with five floors housing many, many exhibits and fabulous permanent collections including Judy Chicago's famous piece, "The Dinner Party". You can read more about the El Anatsui exhibit here. Be sure to watch the first video about how some of the installations were done.


It would be hard to choose a favorite, but this might be it.  You would swear that it was made from bronze, but it was just all black labels with touches of red.  Amazing!

The exhibit is there until August 3, so if you live anywhere within driving distance, you must go.  We drove about 2 hours each way and it was well worth it.  We also enjoyed the Joh Singer Sargent watercolor exhibit, which will be there until July 28.

Be sure to click on any picture for a bigger view of all.


kathy loomis said...

I saw the same exhibit last year in Akron and it's interesting to see how my two favorite pieces -- the huge Red and huge Black pain rectangles -- are hung differently this time. Anatsui is notorious for letting the curators hang his work any way they want. Isn't the show wonderful??

Wil said...

I wish that I could see his work, but the chance that an exhibit will be close to where I live is small.