We’d been meaning to check out the El Anatsui art exhibit at the Wellesley College Davis Museum since it opened at the end of March, and just snuck in over the weekend before the show closed on Sunday.
Not that we’d heard of the artist before the exhibit came to town, but we were intrigued by someone becoming one of the world’s or at least Africa’s most famous artists based on assembling pieces from found liquor bottle tops, wooden boxes and other items (also interesting that the Davis Museum, which gained notoriety a few years back for lost art, would be hosting this exhibit). Especially since we have a young swell in the house who is notorious for picking up every item he can find on the street and bringing it home for reasons yet unknown. Davis Museum security personnel were no doubt tipped off about this, as the guy monitoring the El Anatsui floor practically stalked us the entire time we were there, leading us to split up to foil his surveillance efforts.
El Anatsui’s work is impressive, and we got a great view of it by looking at it from above and from close up. The artist’s wall hangings are shimmery and colorful, and we really liked some of his less flashy work as well, including these creepy little wooden guys called Devotees.
Though what was really cool about the exhibit is that it inspired a fashion design contest at the school for which students made dresses from found junk. Among them, this contest winning vintage wedding dress combined with old computer parts and a nasty yet creative dress patched together from cigarette butts and other items.
If you procrastinated longer than we did and wound up missing the show, note that El Anatsui also has an exhibit through mid-October in the Berkshires at the Clark museum.