Art contemporain

Wangechi Mutu (b.1972, Nairobi, Kenya) is an artist who lives and works in New York. She moved to New York in the 1990s to study anthropology and fine art at Cooper Union (BFA, 1996), and Yale University (MFA, 2000).[1]

She creates painted and collaged images of female figures, first painting outline images on PET film, then adding detail with photographic fragments of idealised women collected from print magazines. Drawings often begin small, are then enlarged and moved to a work table where inks and washes are applied. She uses a variety of materials including archival adhesive, ink, glitter, paint, soil and pearls.

She objects to the portrayal of black women as either tribal aborigines or hypersexualized pinups. By placing these two objectifications together she creates a dialogue between them, allowing the viewer to reflect on both things without replicating the objectification of either one of them.[2]

The figures generally feature grotesque distortions of form and skin texture, which critics read as commentary on a variety of feminist and racial issues ("of the history of women's representation, of cultural migration, global identity; of a litany of historical violence and destruction; of colonial legacies, exoticism and voyeuristic fascination"). [3]

Mutu’s work has exhibited internationally at galleries and museums including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Miami Art Museum, Tate Modern in London, the Studio Museum in Harlem in New York, museum Kunst Palast in Düsseldorf, Germany, and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Her first solo exhibition at a major North American museum opened at the Art Gallery of Ontario in March 2010.[4]

She participated in the 2008 Prospect 1 Biennial in New Orleans and the 2004 Gwangju Biennale in South Korea. Her work has been featured in several major exhibitions including Greater New York at the P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center and The Museum of Modern Art in New York, Black President: The Art and Legacy of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York and the Barbican Centre in London, and USA Today at The Royal Academy in London.

She is represented by Barbara Gladstone in New York, Susanne Vielmetter in Los Angeles and Victoria Miro Gallery in London.


  1. SFMOMA presents new work by Wangechi Mutu, SFMOMA press release, 11/2/2005
  2. Video: Wangechi Mutu, This You Call Civilization?, AGO Art Matters blog 3/5/2010
  3. Afro-Alien Exquisite Corpses, Tracy Murnik, Art South Africa v5.1, October 2006
  4. Provocative Artist Wangechi Mutu to Tear Up Gallery Walls in Canadian Debut, AGO press release, 2/2/2010

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gl:Wangechi Mutu ru:Муту, Вонгечи