“Superstar Artist” El Anatsui to Speak April 3

Thursday, March 20, 2014 - 8:15am
El Anatsui. Photo courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

Often, artists and their art are separated from audiences by space and/or time—you can’t ask Georgia O’Keeffe why she chose a specific vista to paint.

But at 5:30 pm on April 3, sculptor El Anatsui’s campus visit will provide a rare opportunity to see this acclaimed artist’s work firsthand, then hear him talk about it in person. His shimmering sculptures made of recycled colored metal are on display at the Art Museum through early June.

Instead of a formal lecture, El Anatsui will discuss his work with St. Lawrence University professor Obiora Udechukwu; the two formerly taught together at an art school in Nigeria.  Amanda Gilvin, exhibition cocurator and Five College Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in African Art and Architecture, will moderate the conversation.  It will take place in Gamble Auditorium, just steps away from the Art Museum exhibition El Anatsui: New Worlds.

The Ghanaian-born Anatsui is “considered by critics around the globe to be one of the most acclaimed artists working today,” says exhibition cocurator and Art Museum Director John Stomberg. A recent Boston Globe feature even dubbed Anatsui a “superstar artist.”

The sculptures on display at MHC are made of thousands of discarded metal liquor-bottle caps and tabs, joined chain-mail-style by copper wires into undulating, room-sized sculptures. The material ties this very modern, abstract work to issues of cross-cultural exchange, consumerism, and the trans-Atlantic slave trade of centuries ago.

The event is the inaugural Patricia and Edward Falkenberg Lecture.

• View the trailer for Fold Crumple Crush, a documentary film about Anatsui.

—By Emily Harrison Weir