In his wall hangings of sewn-together tops from alcohol bottles and other detritus, most of them made since 2002, El Anatsui has accomplished one of the very few genuine breakthroughs in contemporary art anywhere in the world today. This exhibition at Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, is his first major retrospective. It begins from poststudent work in the 1970s and includes work in a variety of mediums up to the present. Because of some highly problematic display decisions, however, a full sense of the artist’s journey is difficult to discern. The absence of certain well-known works, due to the reluctance of institutional lenders, further disappoints. It is to be hoped that, as the exhibition travels to other venues, these faults will be rectified.
Research Article|May 01 2011
El Anatsui: When I Last Wrote to You about Africa
Terry Smith is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Contemporary Art History and Theory in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh. He is the 2010 winner of the Mather Award for art criticism, conferred by the College Art Association
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Nka (2011) 2011 (28): 142-145.
Terry Smith; El Anatsui: When I Last Wrote to You about Africa. Nka 1 May 2011; 2011 (28): 142–145. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10757163-1266756
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