Thursday, January 22, 2015

Marcia presents "Grey" @ Susan Inglett Gallery, Feb. 5

Logo Susan Inglett Gallery

5 February 2015 - 14 March 2015

Susan Inglett Gallery is pleased to present new works by Marcia Kure in her third solo exhibition with the Gallery from 5 February to 14 March 2015. A reception for the artist will be held Thursday evening, 5 February from 6 to 8 PM.

Inspired by her recent residency at The V&A, London, Marcia Kure continues to embrace abstraction and figuration through sculpture, watercolor and collage. Making a formal and ideological transition within the work, Kure pushes towards abstraction as a means of negotiating the hyper-realism of modern modes of communication and dissemination. In processing current events from natural to social disasters she addresses abstraction of the physical body through a variety of mediums that grapple with laws of nature and culture.

This form of figurative abstraction is seen explicitly in Kure’s fabric installations which are accretions of material puzzled together, formal arrangements that might mimic or behave like a body; an aesthetic leviathan. This broken or disintegrated body speaks to disappearance, fragments, memories, or simply in accordance with nature an accumulation of atoms that make up a body. In her sculpture Kure often employs bits of kitsch or commodified cuteness. These manufactured icons for Kure come in the form of Disney characters, stuffed animals and branded super-heroes. Fabricated, decidedly abstract bodies, these creatures exist in a simulacrum-world, acting as surrogates, they practice hope in a hopeless world.

Kure’s collage series, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, discusses discord head-on. The images are of a desperate place, one of confusion and disharmony. For Kure they mine a deep-rooted archive of unresolved issues. Yet in these watercolors memory and longing replace the absence of the body and the challenge becomes one of technique. White paint is applied on white paper, both extracting the image from the background and leaving a ghostly presence.

For Kure the powerlessness she feels regarding issues of political and social injustice are mitigated through the work, a visible struggle between beauty and chaos, the mind and the body. Descartes’ claim, “I think therefore I am” is turned on its head. Constantly negotiating oppositions and extremes, Kure creates juxtapositions to find balance if not resolution through abstraction.

Born in Nigeria, Marcia Kure’s work has appeared in museum and gallery exhibitions in Africa, Canada, Europe, Japan, United Arab Emirates and the United States. Most recently featured at the Dakar Biennale, Senegal; The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City; and in the Paris Triennial at Palais de Tokyo. Her work will be exhibited next at WIELS Contemporary Art Center, Brussels in “Body Talk: Feminism, Sexuality and the Body in the Work of African Women Artists”. Reviews have appeared in the New York Times, The New Yorker, New York Observer, Time Out, Frieze, Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art, African Arts and Artforum among others.

The Gallery will publish a catalogue with an original text by Marcia Kure on the occasion of the exhibition.

The exhibition will be on view at the gallery located at 522 West 24 Street Tuesday to Saturday 10 AM to 6 PM. For additional information please contact Susan Inglett Gallery at 212/647- 9111, fax 212/647-9333 or

522 West 24 Street
New York NY 10011
T 212 647 9111
F 212 647 9333

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Penny Siopis Retrospective

Penny Siopis, Spell, 2007 Courtesy Michael Stevenson

Penny Siopis, Blow Up, 2010. Courtesy Michael Stevenson

The retrospective of one of my favorite artists Penny Siopis, "Time and Again," is ongoing at the South African National Gallery, Cape Town. I oh so wish I could see it before it closes. Even from this great distance, her "Pinky Pinky" and "Lasso" series still give you the shivers, their terrible beauty hard ignore; and the laboriously detailed surfaces of her Apartheid-era commentaries on the violence and decadence of racist-masculinist history/society, still make a strong argument for art's symbolic and critical power in the face of systemic injustice. This link to virtual views of the exhibition is the next best thing for those of us who can't make it Cape Town before March 23.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Sneak Peek of my book, Postcolonial Modernism: Art & Decolonization in 20th Century Nigeria

If you have been following this blog, you probably already know that my latest book, Postcolonial Modernism: Art & Decolonization in 20th-Century Nigeria is out this month from Duke University Press. Excitement may be an understatement, given how long it has taken to get this book out. To think that it began with the modest retrospective I organized of Uche Okeke's work in 1993! Anyways, here is the sneak preview of the book. If you like what you read; annoyed by it; or just simply curious, then go get the book if your first impressions are justified.
The view includes the all pages from the cover through to the introduction.
To read, click HERE 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

ANNOUNCEMENT: Conference in Honor of El Anatsui and Obiora Udechukwu

Greetings of the New Year! And what better way to start than with this news: 
All Roads will lead to my alma mater, the University of Nigeria, Nsukka this summer for the conference being planned by the university's Faculty of Arts in honor of my dear teachers and friends El Anatsui and Obiora Udechukwu. I Can't express in words my excitement about this celebration for two most generous teachers anyone could ever have. It is fitting that the university to which they gave so much, will now recognize their work and achievement as professors and as artists of international renown. I am eternally proud to call them my teachers! A shout out to the Dean of the Faculty of Arts at Nsukka and to my friends there who initiated this project. 
Deadline: 15 February 2015


Anya Fulu Ugo: An Interdisciplinary African Arts Conference of the Faculty
of Arts, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, in honour of El Anatsui and Obiora Udechukwu 

Theme:  African Art and Artists After the Millennial Turn

Venue: University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria
Date: 24-27 June 2015

In line with an Igbo saying: Anya fulu ugo jaa ya mma, na-adi afu ugo kwa daa (the eye that sees an eagle should adore it, for only rarely are eagles seen), the Faculty of Arts, University of Nigeria, Nsukka announces its interdisciplinary African Arts Conference Series in honour of Nigerian and other African scholars who have made landmark contributions to the humanities. Under the banner "Anya Fulu Ugo", the maiden edition will be in honour of Professors El Anatsui and Obiora Udechukwu. 

The broad theme of the conference is "African Art and Artists After the Millennial Turn". It proposes an interdisciplinary approach to the discourse of the current state of art and artists in Africa and in the African Diaspora. We invite panel and paper proposals from Nigerian,
African and world scholars in mass communication, theatre and film studies, linguistics, literary studies, music, economics, anthropology, history and international relations, archaeology, tourism and museum studies, political science, etc. that examine: the life and work of important contemporary African artists at home or in the Diaspora.

* the work of curators of contemporary African art.

* the rising concern surrounding ownership of Africa's cultural patrimony and the call for the restitution of Africa's art objects looted by the West.

* the place of African national museums and galleries in the global art world.

* auction houses and the commoditisation of contemporary African art.

* the low level of critical and theoretical engagements of artistic production within Africa, and the way forward.

* the intersections and divergences between African visual art today and other branches of the arts in general.

Panel and paper proposals should not exceed 300 words and should reflect the theme and sub-themes of the conference or related areas. Panel proposals should include the list of potential participants with their contact addresses and those of the panel chair(s).

Interested scholars should submit proposals via email to our Chairman, Professor Ikenna Dieke, at or Faculty liaison, Dr. Ozioma Onuzulike, at on or before February 15, 2015. 

We look forward to welcoming you at Nsukka!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Is it True?

I am just hearing that the Nigerian government has sold to a Dubai-based company the only purpose-built, government-owned structure in Nigeria dedicated to the arts: the iconic The National Theatre. With this apparently secret sale of the show-piece structure built for the historic pan-African cultural festival FESTAC '77 for a mere $40 million, Nigerian arts have indeed reached a terrible crossroads. The story is that this building, once the heart of a robust Nigerian, pre-Nollywood, theatrical culture, will be converted to a duty-free shopping mall. The ridiculousness of such a transformation makes we want to not believe this what I am hearing. Hey Mr. Nigerian Government, please confirm that this is NOT TRUE, before I rain abuse on somebody! 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


I am very sick of art, of old and new art, smart and dumb art, cheeky and propaganda art, conceptual and formalist art, painting and installation, film and video art, performance and sound art, even especially high-pretend contemporary art, and I hope I survive the dying year, 2014. I feel I am not alone; so I will need company.  Only one day remains, and I am not sure if this sickness will kill me, by which I mean the me that is constituted completely by art-loving-and-seeking molecules. I think I am going to have ARTARTACK!, which, apart from being a decidedly new medical condition, is the name of my new BLOG. Check it out in the New Year! That is if this artsickness does not kill me this year! I need players (pun intended)!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas, 2015

It is Christmas again,
And winter cannot
stand the all-day rain

No potly santas
And silly elves
Float in the clouds

It is Christmas again
Trumpets of justice
Summon our conscience
to the Timesquare!