Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Open to the public!

After the press preview yesterday, the artists and I had a follow-up interview with Smithsonian magazine. Then, a reporter from Voice of America showed up unexpectedly, so we chatted with him, too. It’s amazing how an entire day can just evaporate like that. After all the talking, António was able to go to lunch with a friend from the Portuguese embassy, while Aimé and I grabbed a bite before he went to see some exhibitions at other museums on the mall. They decided to have an early night because first thing this morning they were heading to University of Maryland to meet with Dr. Shannen Hill’s Intro to African Art class. If any of the students should read this blog – please write in and tell us about the experience!

Tonight, the artists and I will meet with museum docents. Docents are volunteers who give their time to learn about the art and exhibitions at the museum and then to provide tours to school groups and visitors. They are, quite literally, the “front line,” helping visitors interpret and understand what they see. We have a diverse and dynamic group of docents and this will be my first time working with them as a curator here at the museum. I am looking forward to it, however, as it is always fun to talk with an interested audience!

Oh, the other big news! We are open to the public today! how could I forget... after all this behind the scenes activity, we finally get to see people just wander in of their own volition!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

amazing work of art and increadible show of dedication...

Blog Archive

About the Exhibition

Artists in Dialogue: António Ole and Aimé Mpane is the first in a series of exhibitions in which two artists have been invited to create new work in response to one another. Accompanying these site specific artworks are a selection of older and more recent pieces by António Ole of Angola and Aimé Mpane, an artist who divides his time between the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Belgium. Even though their works appear together for the first time, Ole and Mpane share close ties to their homelands and a connection to the human and natural environments of their native countries.

Ole has been creating and exhibiting his artwork since he was a teenager, and this selection spans his impressive 40-year career. From the crisp pop art style of his youth to his subtle and evocative assemblages and installations, Ole's work prompts viewers to consider poverty, political hypocrisy, territorialism, violence and decay. At the same time, a deep appreciation for the beauty of cast-off objects and the aesthetics of poverty underlies his works, which are on view in the United States for the first time.

Mpane, a prolific artist who is versatile in painting, prints, sculpture, video and installation, achieved international recognition in 2006. He utilizes his commanding skill with human expressions and the figure to probe the history and present state of the DRC.

This selection of established and new works provides insight into the personal visions of Ole and Mpane and how they communicate with diverse audiences. Their subject matter, use of unlikely materials and ongoing commitment to Africa resonate with one another and encourage dialogue.

About the Curator.

My photo
"I was told to describe myself as a well-dressed hipster and I only wish this were true. Despite my lack of cool, I consider myself lucky to be the coordinating curator at the National Museum of African Art. My interests include both contemporary and classical African art - and to be frank, I disagree with the notion of a great separation between the two - and I have worked in both museums and universities. I've been called an idealist because I believe that through learning about other cultures, ideas, and visions, we learn tolerance for one another - regardless of class, religion, country and the other great divides. But I also just love looking at, learning about, and being with African art and African artists. I like art in general, but it is the diversity, complexity, and richness of the works connected to the African continent that captivate and motivate me. It's the only work I've ever done, and among other great rewards, it has allowed me to travel to and on a couple of occasions live in Zambia, Nigeria, South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Angola and Senegal."