Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Chevalier des arts et lettre for Barthelemy Toguo!

Bandjoun Station, Bandjoun, Cameroon
The Cameroonian artist Barthelemy Toguo who must be one of the most hardworking and brilliant contemporary artists today has just been awarded the "Chevalier des arts et lettres" (Knight of the Order of the Arts and Literature) by the French Government. The honorific, according to the French Ministry of Culture acknowledges personalities with distinguished achievements in art or literature, and who have contributed to the dissemination of culture in France and in the world. Does it mean I now have to call him "Sir Barthelemy!" Sounds great, right? Whatever, it is an important acknowledgment of the work this guy has done in the past 15 years or so. And that includes establishing that ambitious art and agricultural project in his hometown called Bandjoun Station. Can't wait to go see it!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The war on the Children continues

In Akwa-Ibom State, Nigeria, the madness goes on. Now the government has run the NGOs out of town and the children are being sent to a barren, barely staffed facility cynically named "Security Village" by the State Government. The terror, the war against the children goes, unchecked.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

El Anatsui at the Clark

Stone Hill Center. Photos: Richard Lacayo
For students and admirers of El Anatsui's work here's a new small book coming out soon. It is published by the Yale Univ. Press in connection with the fabulous exhibition of El's work at the Clark Institute's stunning, brand new Stone Hill Center designed by the Pritzker-winning, Japanese architect Tadao Ando. (This is the second ever show of work by a contemporary artist--after Juan Muñoz last year--at The Clark). El and I were at the Clark early in April (yes it still snowed in Williamstown!) to plan the installation of the three majestic sculptures, including Intermittent Signals (2009) from the Broad Art Foundation collection. Having just returned from the Clark about a week ago, with the installation nearly complete, I could not help but imagine what difference space and thoughtful installation can do to our experience of El's work, or any work of art for that matter. It is as if Ando designed the galleries for El! Or rather, El's work completes the dramatic dialog Ando imagined between the building and the verdant, mountainous Berkshire landscape.

El Anatsui at the Clark - LaGamma, Alisa; Okeke-Agulu, Chika - Yale University Press

Monday, May 2, 2011

Osama Bin Laden (RIH)

To the tall one
With stones in his gall:
Rest in Hell!