Yinka Shonibare in DC

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions, today in light of the 18th century by Editor on November 16, 2009

Yinka Shonibare, MBE
Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington D.C., 10 November 2009 — 7 March 2010

Curated by Rachel Kent


Yinka Shonibare, "The Swing (After Fragonard)," 2001


Jean-Honoré Fragonard, "The Swing," 1767 (London: Wallace Collection)

This morning on NPR’s Morning Edition, Susan Stamberg profiled the Yinka Shonibare exhibition now on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art (it was organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney). Writing in The New York Times (17 June 2009) of the show when it was at the Brooklyn Museum this past summer, Deborah Sontag described Shonibare as an “erudite and wide-ranging” artist, whom


Rachel Kent

at 47, is a senior figure in the British art world but one who intentionally eludes easy categorization. A disabled black artist who continuously challenges assumptions and stereotypes — “That’s the point of my work really,” he said — Mr. Shonibare makes art that is sumptuously aesthetic and often wickedly funny. When he deals with pithy matters like race, class, disability, colonialism and war, he does so deftly and often indirectly. “I don’t produce propaganda art,” he said. “I’m more interested in the poetic than the didactic.”

While many of the works address contemporary issues through Victorian conventions, there are intriguing eighteenth-century references, too — including this reworking of Fragonard’s Swing.

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