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11.1.08

Shimmering, Flowing Beauty in Chelsea


On my cruise through Chelsea this past week the first thing I noticed, besides the 70 degree temperature, was that unfortunately most of the new shows would not open until the end of the week, but not to worry, there’s always something to see.

One of those somethings was Ghanaian born artist El Anatsui’s knock-out, gorgeous wall hangings at Jack Shainman. What first appear to be quilted fabrics or tapestries are actually a mixture of flattened bottle tops, metal foil, and at times glass, woven together with copper wire.

As with the work of Martin Puryear, from my last post, there is a linkage to African imagery and culture, as well as Western influences. In Puryear’s case it’s intimated, with Anatsui, more direct. The found objects, flattened bottle caps and cans, are castoffs of a consumer culture, versus a culture where nothing was wasted, recycled into flowing objects of beauty. More images of the week on flickr.

UPDATE:
Newsgrist covers this week's installation of El Anatsui's Between Heaven and Earth at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the first contemporary African sculpture acquired for their collection. View the Met's flickr.

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