Visitors to the Akron Art Museum have less than week left to check out Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui before the exhibit – shown for the first time in the United States – is packed for a national tour.
On view through Oct. 7. 2012, the exhibit features the work of globally-renowned contemporary artist El Anatsui (pronounced Ah-not-schwee) with more than 30 of his metal and wood works that transform objects into site-specific sculptures.
The Akron Art Museum describes Anatsui work as striking a "rare combination of stunning beauty, fascinating communal process and deep metaphorical and poetic meaning. A global artist, Antatsui draws on artistic and aesthetic traditions from his birth country of Ghana, his home in Nsukka, Nigeria and various Western art forms. Anatsui's work is about transformation."
The exhibit also includes wooden wall reliefs and a small selection of drawings.
The exhibit, which is supported by Knight, is the largest ever oragnized by the museum and is part of its 90th anniversary celebration. Although Anatsui's work has been exhibited around the world, including at the Venice Biennale, only one piece from the exhibit has previously been shown in the United States.
After it closes this Sunday in Akron, the exhibit will travel nationally. Its first stop in 2013 is scheduled for the Brooklyn Museum, where it will be available to the public from Feb. 8- Aug. 4, 2013.
“The variety of form, color and expression that Anatsui draws from discarded materials is no less than a visual feast. His large-scale metal wall pieces become even more remarkable when one realizes they are made from the discarded metal caps that wrap around the tops of liquor bottles.”
The Akron Beacon Journal reviewed the exhibit writing that in this workshop: "there are no rules, no blueprints, no patterns. Here, you're on your own with someone else's project."
Knight Foundation's President and CEO Alberto Ibargüen recently visited the exhibit. Below is an image he captured of the work "Earth's Skin." The 2009 sculpture is made from aluminum and copper wire and measures 177 by 394 inches.
Above: Mitchell Kahan and Dr. W. Gerald Austen.
Marking the exhibit's opening in June, Western Reserve PBS aired the documentary "Fold Crumple Crush: The Art of Anatsui," which gives an insider's view of the artist's practice.
By Elizabeth R. Miller, communications associate at Knight Foundation.