Wangechi Mutu (b. 1972, Kenya) explores the violence and misrepresentation that women, particularly Black women, experience in the world. Mutu references artists such as Gustav Klimt, Chris Ofili and Egon Schiele, as well as the Surrealist movement, Western commercialism, and African culture. Her collages, paintings and prints capture engaging narratives and layered symbolism. Mutu’s work has often been described as a form of myth-making, one in which fact and fiction blend together. This creates a realm of possibilities for a new pantheon of female characterizations, standing apart from narratives that appear in classical history and popular culture. Referecing this interest, Mutu has stated, “a lot of my work reflects the incredible influence that America has had on contemporary African culture. Some of it’s insidious, some of it’s innocuous, some of it’s invisible. It’s there.”
Mutu holds a BFA from Cooper Union and an MFA from Yale University. Her work has been the subject of solo shows at museums throughout the United States and abroad including the Deutsche Guggenheim (Berlin), Legion of Honor (San Francisco) and Miami Art Museum. In 2020, Mutu was the inaugural commission for the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York)’s annual façade exhibition, designing four sculptures to animate the historic building. Her work can be found in collections worldwide, such as the Museum of Modern Art (New York), Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles) and Tate (London). The artist lives and works in New York and Nairobi.
- Contemporary artist Mika Rottenberg also explores the otherhood of women and minority groups, with a focus on questions of labor and value in late capitalist society. View her work.
- Wangechi Mutu's monstrous subjects recall the sculptural work of the late French-American artist Louise Bourgeois. Bourgeois was a pioneer of confessional art who depicted her family members as grotesque spiders and other creatures. View her work.