El Anatsui: Five Decades – A Retrospective at The Jack Shainman Gallery- The School on view through September 26, 2015

Ghanaian master artist El Anatsui gets a retrospective at the Jack Shainman Gallery for his assemblage work spanning five decades.

“Dissolving Dreams”, 2014, found aluminum and copper wire

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Nestled in a quaint, small town in upstate New York and far from the hustle and bustle of the big city are El Anatsui exquisite masterpieces spanning five decades. The exhibition, El Anatsui: Five Decades opened Sunday, May 17th in a large school-house on a quiet street and presented 43 pieces of the artist’s works from as early as 1977 to the present.

“Tiled Flower Garden”, 2013, bottle caps (aluminum) and copper wire

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“Tiled Flower Garden”, 2013, bottle caps (aluminum) and copper wire (detail view)

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The works presented in this exhibition allow curators, collectors, and art appreciators to see why he was deserving of this award and many others. Works on view include sculpture, works on paper, paintings and his most recognizable sculpture wall hanging situated in approximately 30,000 square-feet of space. El Anatsui’s artistic progression moves from ceramics and manganese to African tribal wood-carvings and large scale installation. There are many examples of his well-known assemblage sculptural pieces, which are many times hung or displayed in large installations on the floor. In these elaborate sculptural pieces, Anatsui uses found objects such as bottle caps, coins and aluminum and weaves them together with copper wire in an intricate tapestry to create these magnificent wall hangings.

“Blema”, 2006, found aluminum and copper wire (detail view)

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El Anatsui, a Ghanian artist who was born in 1944, currently lives in Nigeria. His works are included in notable public collections such as: The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the Museum of Modern Art (New York), Centre Pompidou (Paris), and the British Museum (London) among others. Earlier this month, El Anatsui was awarded the Venice Biennale’s highest honor, the Golden Lion Lifetime Achievement Award in Italy.

“Fan”, 1995, oyili-oji

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Title Unknown, 1987, ebony and iron

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“Commercial Avenue”, 2014, wood, aluminum, and house paint

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The El Anatsui retrospective was formed in celebration of the one-year anniversary of Jack Shainman Gallery‘s satellite location – The School, located in Kinderhook, New York. This exhibit remains on view through September 26, 2015.

Jessica Stafford Davis

Author: Jessica Stafford Davis

The Agora Culture launched in July, 2013 with a private reception in Mclean, Virginia for Mequitta Ahuja, a world-renowned mixed media artist. Subsequently, she co-curated her first exhibition, “Women as Color Light and Form”, with the Galerie Myrtis in Baltimore, Maryland. The exhibition was a part of Network Exhibition Sondheim awards for the 2013 Artscape festival, America’s largest free arts festival. Jessica currently serves on the board at The Washington Project of the Arts and the George Mason University School of Art Council.

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