ABOVE PHOTO: Wangechi Mutu, Suspended Playtime, 2008.
The work of provocative Kenyan-born, Brooklyn-based artist Wangechi Mutu will be featured as the inaugural exhibition of the newly expanded Leonard Pearlstein Gallery in Drexel University’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design from Friday, Feb. 15 through Saturday, Mar. 30. The gallery is free and open to the public Monday – Saturday, 11 AM – 5 PM.
Using a blend of materials such as magazine cuttings, paint, charcoal, glitter and found objects, Mutu’s work explores themes ranging from female identity and definitions of beauty, western and traditional cultures, environmental desecration and the history of post-colonial Africa.
The exhibition will feature more than 10 collections of collages, sculptures and installations, including such highly regarded works as Suspended Playtime, which explores Kenyan children’s inventive practice of making soccer balls out of bundled and bound garbage bags, and The Histology of the Different Tumors of the Uterus, a series of collages based on early 20th century medical illustrations.
Described as “one of the most exciting artists working in collage today” by the New York Times, Mutu’s work is housed in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art (New York), The Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), The Whitney Museum of American Art (New York) and has been featured in numerous collections throughout the world.
PHOTO: Kenyan-born, Brooklyn-based artist Wangechi Mutu will exhibit her work at Drexel during Black History Month.
The new Leonard Pearlstein Gallery has over 3,500 square feet and was designed by the architectural firm of Meyer, Scherer and Rockcastle. It is located at the URBN Center Annex (3401 Filbert St.)
An opening celebration and reception will be held at the gallery on Friday, Feb. 22, at 5 p.m. Noted Philadelphia poet Sonia Sanchez will perform new work written to complement Mutu’s art, and acclaimed dancer Tania Isaac, a member of the Drexel Dance faculty, has choreographed a new piece to be performed by members of Drexel Dance Ensemble.
Mutu was born and raised in Kenya before moving to New York to study anthropology at The New School for Social Research and Parsons School of Art and Design. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in 1996 and an Master of Fine Arts degree from Yale in 2000.
She currently lives in Brooklyn, and is represented by the Gladstone Gallery in New York, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects in Los Angeles and Victoria Miro Gallery in London. She was awarded the 2010 Deutsche Guggenheim Artist of the Year