One of the most thought-provoking art shows I’ve seen this season is Wangechi Mutu’s “A Fantastic Journey,” housed in the phenomenal Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum. Sunday March 9th, is the last day to see it, so get moving!
Mutu’s swarming, contorted collages create alien female forms from found images, magazine cutouts, and paint. Mutu was born in Nairobi and her concern with transnationalism has a strong presence in her collages, as does her view of American culture and mass consumerism from a place of outsiderness. There is a definite ode to African dance in the work, fused with American gender-based images like polished lips from fashion magazines, body parts from porn stills, and even war photographs. The result are post-apocalyptic portraits of mutilation, consumerism, rebirth, and womanhood that are shocking and fascinating to see up close.
The most mesmerizing element of the show is a fantastical video piece starring Santigold as a medusa-like monster who floats through space eating everything in sight. As she ingests, her body becomes an eco-system in and of itself, dotted with factories producing steam and other industrial structures. That may sound INSANE and it IS, which is why you should go see it.
Plus, attending a major solo museum show (Mutu’s first) by a woman of color is just something we support. Here’s to the day when we won’t even have to point that out.