Monday, October 31, 2016

UPenn and Yale African Art History jobs

As if the news about the African Art History job announcement by the Department of History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania, the Ivy League university based in Philadelphia is not big enough, Yale University's History of Art Department has just announced that it is also in the market for a "replacement"--if you could ever imagine a junior scholar replacing that monument called Robert Farris Thompson. I cannot remember the last time two Ivy League universities are searching for an African art historian at the same time. I am watching to see they hire; thankfully, there are a couple of really smart young scholars out there! 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Egyptian Surrealism Exhibition in Cairo

Palace of Arts, Cairo

The historic exhibition, When Art Becomes Liberty: The Egyptian Surrealists (1938-1965), organized by Salah M. Hassan and Hoor Al-Qasimi at the Palace of Arts, Cairo closes in about week, and I count myself fortunate to have been able to see it. I shall write more about this exhibition, which because of the depth of research and amazing scale of it, deserves fuller comment (please, please, Salah and Hoor, make sure the accompanying book comes out soon!). But as far as exhibitions go, this is a milestone for the African continent. Congratulations Salah and Hoor, and your curatorial team at the Sharjah Art Foundation, the Egyptian Ministry of Culture and the American University in Cairo. Here are a few images from the installation.
Exhibition panel

Installation view with Carlo Desidero's Satan Around the World, n. d. (left)

Photographic self-portraits by the enigmatic Van Leo

Archival documents by Art and Liberty Group

Hadi El-Ghazzar, Man and Cat, 1952

Kamal Youssef, Hoda, 1942

Installation view

Monday, October 17, 2016

"Postwar: Art Between the Pacific and the Atlantic, 1945-1965"

Haus der Kunst, Munich
The unprecedented exhibition of international postwar art organized by Okwui Enwezor, Cathy Siegel and Ulrich Wilmes opened last Thursday at the Haus der Kunst, Munich. I wager that this is one of the most--actually the most--consequential exhibition of modern art during the twenty years following the end of the Second World War. It is a staggering exhibition that only Okwui could have conceived, and only the HdK could have made possible. I cannot imagine this exhibition, by the sheer scale of it, and given all the prized works from five continents it brought together, travelling to any other museum. So, if you can, and if you are really invested in modern art, you better go see this exhibition. After it, the navel-gazing and parochial histories told and defended by museums in Europe and America for years will be utterly indefensible. Unfortunately, I cannot as yet post any photos from the exhibition, as photos were not allowed. But I will post, as soon as possible, images of the works and installation shots. And by the way, the exhibition is accompanied by an 800+-page book, which I am guessing will be available soon. Congrats Okwui and the curatorial team, for this monument in scholastic and exhibition making.

Yes, there was a curatorial roundtable featuring Geeta Kapur, Cathy Siegel, Ulrich Wilmes and moi, with Okwui as moderator.

Postwar on Haus der Kunst facade with works by American Roy Liechtensten and Nigerian Collette Omogbai 

Director of Haus der Kunst, Okwui Enwezor welcoming guests to the Curatorial Roundtable on Friday

Co-curator of "Postwar" Cathy Siegel

Obiora Udechukwu and Okwui Enwezor

Salah Hassan and Obiora Udechukwu

Udechukwu and Marc-Andre Schmachtel, former director of Goethe-Institut, Lagos