El Anatsui (Ghanaian, b. 1944). Earth’s Skin, 2007. Aluminum and copper wire, 177 x 394 in. (449.6 x 1000.8 cm). Courtesy of Guggenheim Abu Dhabi
February 8–August 18, 2013
The first solo exhibition in a New York museum by the globally renowned contemporary artist El Anatsui, this show will feature over 30 works in metal and wood that transform appropriated objects into site-specific sculptures. Anatsui converts found materials into a new type of media that lies between sculpture and painting, combining aesthetic traditions from his birth country, Ghana; his home in Nsukka, Nigeria; and the global history of abstraction.
Included in the exhibition are twelve recent monumental wall and floor sculptures, widely considered to represent the apex of Anatsui’s career. The metal wall works, created with bottle caps from a distillery in Nsukka, are pieced together to form colorful, textured hangings that take on radically new shapes with each installation. Anatsui is captivated by his materials’ history of use, reflecting his own nomadic background. Gravity and Grace responds to a long history of innovations in abstract art and performance, building upon cross-cultural exchange among Africa, Europe, and the Americas and presenting works in a wholly new, African medium.
Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui is organized by the Akron Art Museum and made possible by a major grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The Brooklyn presentation is organized by Kevin Dumouchelle, Associate Curator of the Arts of Africa and the Pacific Islands, Brooklyn Museum.
Generous support for this exhibition has been provided by Christie's and The Broad Art Foundation, Santa Monica.
Watch Museum art handlers installing Gravity and Grace
El Anatsui talks with author Susan Vogel and curator Kevin D. Dumouchelle