Guest Curator Wangechi Mutu Selects Her Favorite Works On Saatchi Online
Born in Kenya and now based in New York, Wangechi Mutu has trained as both a sculptor and an anthropologist. Her work explores the contradictions of female and cultural identity and makes reference to colonial history, contemporary African politics, and the international fashion industry.
She has had solo exhibitions at major institutions including Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin; Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna; San Francisco MoMA; Miami Art Museum; and ArtPace, San Antonio. Wangechi’s work has been included in exhibitions at MOCA Los Angeles; Vancouver Art Gallery; Tate Liverpool; the 10th Biennale d’art Contemporain de Lyon; Studio Museum, Harlem; Prospect.1, New Orleans; SITE Santa Fe Biennial; and Tate Modern, London. In addition, she received the 2010 Deutsche Bank Artist of the Year award.
What was the first piece of art you bought?
A Franco Mondini-Ruiz sculpture.
How would you describe your taste in art? What are you most drawn to?
I love brainy, sexy, politically/socially plugged-in work.
Which artist would you most like to meet?
Frida Kahlo, Claude Cahun, The Notorious P.I.C.(asso).
What do you collect?
Young emerging artists, under-represented friends whose works I love, smaller works of bigger-named artists from fundraisers.
How would you describe your personal style?
Dress or behaviour? Afro-futuristic, bohemian tomboy.
What books are on your bedside table?
II Dono: The Gift, Cutting for Stone, and lots of New Yorker magazines.
What music are you currently listening to?
Tricky, “False Idols;” Laura Mvula, “Sing To the Moon;” Just a Band, “Sorry for the Delay;” Santigold, “Master of My Make-Believe.”
Do you have a favorite museum or gallery?
I love so many New York museums and galleries, but in Alaska there is a Native Heritage Center that has young first nation kids leading the tours. They’re these really hip, culturally- and politically- switched-on kids, who are breaking down the real and true history of that area. A lot of the exhibits are outdoor displays of pre-colonial life. It’s a really big and confident institution.
Do you have a favorite place you go to for inspiration?
The night inspires me.
If you could give one piece of advice to young artists what would it be?
Make sure you absolutely love your art, and then prepare to make sacrifices for it.
Where can we next see your work?
At the Brooklyn Museum – my solo show opened in October. I’m also completing my video performance work in the woods of Long Island, and continuing my collaboration discussion with Nora Chipaumire.
What would you like to do if you weren’t an artist?
I’d be a slightly melancholic travelling art teacher.