You might recognise Wangechi Mutu from Jay Z’s 2013 music video ‘Picasso Baby’. The video (watched a mere 4.5 million times on youtube) was inspired by artist Marina Abramovic’s MoMA performance ‘The Artists is Present’ and featured other art-world notables, as well as Judd Apatow, Jenna Lyons and Jim Jarmusch. That’s the world Wangechi Mutu occupies: art meets culture meets celebrity.
Her art isn’t for the faint-hearted or the humourless. She’s fascinated with the female form and twists, chops, and reconfigures it in remarkable, creepy and captivating ways. Her paintings and collages have gained her international recognition and acclaim.
The Miami Herald says of her 2014 solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami: ‘There may be no better metaphor for the complexity of gender and racial issues than the African woman’s body. Once derided as unattractive by the slave-trading West, black women and their struggle for respect and power have often been tied to their physical make-up. Mutu addresses this head on with her fantastical journeys, creating figures that are simultaneously desirable and grotesque, sometimes forced into shapes not of their own.’
Wangechi Mutu is considered one of the world’s most significant and innovative modern artists. We are thrilled that she has allowed us to include her work in issue three of Open Field.