Standing back a few paces from one of El Anatsui’s sculptures it’s easy to see how his large-scale installations have made him one of the most internationally recognized artists from his native Ghana.
And when you take a few steps closer, it becomes clear just how much work went into creating each of Anatsui’s metal and wood installations, which are enormous in scope but breathtaking in their detail, such as the piece made entirely with bottle caps from a distillery in Nsukka, Nigeria. Composed of thousands of small objects woven together with wire to form colorful, textured hangings, they’re the kind of massive artworks that require both a crane and a team of meticulous workers to install.
And next month the globally renowned contemporary artist will be featured at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in his first New York City solo exhibition. “Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui” opens February 8 at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. The exhibition will feature over 30 of Anatsui’s works in metal and wood, including 12 recent monumental wall and floor sculptures, which are widely considered to represent the apex of Anatsui’s career. Each is made from found materials that are transformed by Anatsui’s treatment, combining aesthetic traditions from Ghana, his birth country, and his home in Nigeria.
Just a few days after this new exhibit opens at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the artist himself will be on hand to discuss the inspiration behind these works. Plan your trip to the Brooklyn Museum of Art around the February 10 artist talk by the 68-year-old El Anatsui and you will have the rare opportunity to hear a internationally renowned artist discuss the painstaking process that produces such amazing works of art.
(Don’t want to travel to Brooklyn to see El Anatsui’s artwork? The Metropolitan Museum of Art also has one of his large-scale installations on display in Gallery 918, International and Contemporary Works.)
So get up close with one of El Anatsui’s massive found-object installations — and then take a step back. Both views will astound you.
“Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui” runs through August 4, 2013 at the Brooklyn Museum of Art.
What are the most memorable art exhibits you’ve seen at New York City museums?