THE POETICS OF CLOTH : AFRICAN TEXTILES / RECENT ART
SEPTEMBER 16 - DECEMBER 6, 2008
The Poetics of Cloth : African Textiles / Recent Art juxtaposes a selection of the finest examples of modern and classic 19th-century textiles- ;from Ghana, Nigeria, Mali, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Madagascar- ;with works by a number of Africa’s leading contemporary artists. Comparing and contrasting tribal fabrics with contemporary paintings, sculpture, and photographs by African artists, the exhibition not only draws attention to textiles, a medium that has previously been overshadowed by traditional African sculpture, but also illuminates the connections and continuities between past and recent modes of expression. As El Anatsui, a contemporary Ghanaian artist based in Nigeria, has observed : “The scope of meaning associated with cloth is so wide…. [It] is to the African what monuments are to Westerners.”
Organized by the Grey Art Gallery and curated by Lynn Gumpert, this exhibition and its 112-page, illustrated catalogue demonstrate how African artists who come from different countries and diverse milieus share a common engagement with one of the most fundamental and traditional forms of African expression. A parallel exhibition The Essential Art of African Textiles : Design Without End will be presented at The Metropolitan Museum of Art from September 30, 2008 through March 22, 2009.
The Poetics of Cloth : African Textiles / Recent Art is made possible in part by The Coby Foundation ; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts ; the New York State Council on the Arts ; CULTURESFRANCE ; New York University’s Africa House, Africana Studies, and Global Programs ; Jane Wesman Public Relations ; and the Abby Weed Grey Trust. Public programs are supported by the Grey’s Inter/National Council.