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Countdown to the opening of The Global Africa Project (GAP) « MAD Blog
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Countdown to the opening of The Global Africa Project (GAP)

It’s Veteran’s Day and the installation of GAP is in full swing. The works of art have been arriving and as they are unpacked and put into place under the watchful eye of Dorothy Globus, our curator of exhibitions, Elayne Rush, Associate Registrar, Matthew Cox, chief preparator and Eric Lindviet, who coordinates the construction, the exhibition starts to reveal itself. This seems to be a good point to record some random curatorial thoughts.

I have been nervous about the installation—not about the design but about the scale and number of works that Leslie King Hammond and I have amassed for this groundbreaking presentation. But the installation conceived by Gboyega Adefope of Gboyega Design Works is pure genius. Following the thematic organization of the exhibition, he has created “spheres of influence” for each concept. He also resisted the temptation to divide the galleries into enclosed spaces, he has been judicious with his addition of walls, taken advantage of the light that the windows and wall/floor/ceiling cuts offer and deployed scrim to both separate and reveal.

The result is a layout that will allow visitors to have intimate experiences within discrete and separate areas in the galleries. And watch out for the color! Gboyega has deployed red, turquoise and ocher to play off the black scrim.

Last week we installed the wonderful screen by Olu Amoda. He’d finally resolved his visa problems and arrived in New York from Nigeria some five months after we’d originally scheduled his stay. He installed himself for nearly two weeks out in Southampton in the studio of Billy Omabegho—whose Plexiglas furniture is also in GAP—to work on the screen he entitled Windows of Dream edition 2010. The screen relates to the security doors he creates as a side line for the rich and famous in Lagos and he assembles found scrap metal into sculptures that would make David Smith jealous.
The materials in this particular piece are recycled nails and locks and he wrote in an email dated November 5, 2010 that the nails “are a metaphor for the resilience of craved economic survival evidence in the burnt houses of the displaced people. The 53 padlocks represent counties in Africa and…issues relating to…. internal and external economic siege.”

Another artist in GAP who is also from Nigeria is Bright Ugochukwu Eke. Bright is known for his ephemeral installations out of plastic water bottles that comment on the issue of water conditions around the world. When he arrived at MAD he decided that the space called for another kind of installation. So here he is working on plywood discs that he will cover in carbon dust and sand. These will be hung to create a giant mobile effect.

We’re sure the conceptual meaning behind this work will be as compelling as ever.

As I close this posting, we are awaiting the arrival of the artists, designers and writers associated with Alice Yard in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. Christopher Cozier, Marlon Darbeau, Nicholas Laughlin, Sean Leonard and Richard Rawlins promise to give us a provocative and engaging installation that will convey their cutting-edge collaborative projects that demonstrate how the Caribbean is what Cozier describes as a “Critical Space”—one that is critical to the global art scene and one that offers new modes of critical thought.

Lowery Stokes Sims

All photographs by Lowery Stokes Sims

 

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