ARTIST WANGECHI MUTU TO CREATE THE FIRST-EVER EXTERIOR INSTALLATION AT THE MET

An installation view of Water Woman, 2017, at Gladstone Gallery, New York, in 2017. © Wangechi Mutu/Courtesy of the artist and Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels.

The Facade Commission presents
Wangechi Mutu: The NewOnes, will free Us
Sept. 9, 2019 – Jan. 12, 2020
The Met Fifth Avenue

Kenyan-American artist Wangechi Mutu has been selected to create sculptures for The Met’s Fifth Avenue facade niches—the first-ever such installation on the Museum’s historic exterior—inaugurating a new annual artist commission series. The works will be unveiled on September 9, 2019, and be on view through January 12, 2020.

The museum’s facade niches have remained bare since its inception in 1870 not for aesthetic reasons, but for budget restrictions. “they ran out of money [back then],” said Max Hollein (the Met’s Austrian director) in an interview with W magazine. Kelly Baum, the Met’s co-curator, added: “There’s the little matter of female power in the context of the Met’s male-dominated past. There’s some drama there, which I appreciate.” This installation is part of a new series of contemporary commissions at The Met in which the Museum invites artists to create new works of art inspired by the collection, establishing a dialogue between the artist’s work, the collection, the space, and audiences.

The Met Museum’s façade.

Born in Nairobi in 1972 and trained in sculpture at Yale, from which she received her MFA in 2000, Wangechi Mutu is one of the most distinguished artists of her generation. She has achieved critical acclaim for her haunting, otherworldly collage-paintings, art-films, live performances, and sculptures. Comprised of either bronze or organic materials, Mutu’s three-dimensional work depicts formidable figures referencing modern and classical mythologies that conflate histories and sculptural traditions of Africa and Europe. Like her collage-paintings, Mutu’s sculptures reflect critically on social and ecological injustices and inequalities. Female transformation and empowerment are at the core of all her ideas and evidence in the completed work.

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