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A Fantastic Journey

A Fantastic Journey

Nasher Museum of Art presents Wangechi Mutu's first survey in the United States

March 18, 2013 |
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mutu exhibit

A comprehensive and innovative exhibition of works by international artist Wangechi Mutu -- her first in the United States -- opens Thursday, March 21, at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.

The Nasher Museum organized the touring exhibition, "Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey," which runs through July 21.

The exhibition presents more than 50 works from the mid-1990s to the present, including collage, drawing, sculpture, installation and video. The show features many of the artist's most iconic collages drawn from major international collections, rarely seen early works and new creations. 

Opening Event with Wangechi Mutu Wednesday

Meet artist Wangechi Mutu, who was born in Nairobi, Kenya, and lives and works in Brooklyn, at a free, public event opening the exhibit at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Nasher Museum of Art.

Mutu has transformed the gallery into an environmental installation, including a monumental wall drawing, which allows visitors to immerse themselves in the artist's work.

The exhibition also unveils the artist's sketchbooks of intimate drawings that reveal her creative process and inspirations, on public view for the first time. Other new highlights include Mutu's first animated video, created in collaboration with musician Santigold and commissioned by the Nasher Museum. 

Mutu also will transform the gallery into an environmental installation, including a monumental wall drawing, which allows visitors to immerse themselves in the artist's work.

The exhibition is curated by Trevor Schoonmaker, Patsy R. and Raymond D. Nasher Curator of Contemporary Art at the Nasher Museum. 

"We are very proud to present Wangechi Mutu's most innovative and exhilarating work," Schoonmaker said. "Followers of Mutu's work will be amazed by her new ideas and creations, and will gain unprecedented insight into her artistic process and evolution as an artist over the past 15 years. Her work is as seductive and beautiful as it is critical and disturbing." 

The exhibition will be complemented by free programs and events, including an opening talk by Mutu on March 20; a student-organized Art for All brunch on April 7; screening of the Afropunk film "The Triptych" and gallery talk by Kristine Stiles, France Family Professor of Art, Art History & Visual Studies at Duke, on May 2; two Family Day events; teacher workshops; film series; catalogue launch party; artist visit and more.

The Nasher Museum is the first venue for the touring exhibition. The show will travel to the Brooklyn Museum of Art in September 2013, the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami in April 2014 and the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University in September 2014.

Mutu was born in Nairobi, Kenya, and lives and works in Brooklyn, N.Y. She is best known for her large-scale collages depicting female figures in lush, otherworldly landscapes. Her work explores issues of gender, race, war, globalization, colonialism and the eroticization of the black female body. She creates mysterious cyborg-like figures pieced together with human, animal, machine and monster parts. She often combines found materials and magazine cutouts with sculpture and painted imagery, sampling from sources as diverse as African traditions, international politics, the fashion industry and science fiction.

"Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey" is made possible by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Major support is provided by Marilyn M. Arthur; The Ford Foundation; The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation; Katherine Thorpe; and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects. Additional generous support is provided by Duke University's Council for the Arts; Gladstone Gallery, N.Y.; Victoria Miro Gallery, London; The North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources; Deborah DeMott; Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger; Kelly Braddy Van Winkle and Lance Van Winkle; Graduate Liberal Studies at Duke; Mindy and Guy Solie; Richard Tigner; Gail Belvett; Ann Chanler and Andrew Schneman; Diane Evia-Lanevi and Ingemar Lanevi; and Angela O. Terry. 

The Nasher Museum, at 2001 Campus Drive at Anderson Street on the Duke campus, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday; and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The museum is closed Mondays. Admission (except for ticketed exhibitions) is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and members of the Duke Alumni Association, $3 for non-Duke students with identification and free for children 15 and younger. Admission is free to all on Thursday nights. Admission is free to Duke students, faculty and staff with Duke Cards. Admission is also free to Nasher Museum members.

For additional information visit or call 919-684-5135.

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Affiliation: Nasher Museum of Art
Phone: 919-684-5135

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Affiliation: Nasher Museum of Art
Phone: 919-684-5135