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Artists on the Verge of a Breakthrough


Hanging In (2004-5) by Wangechi Mutu, courtesy of John Berns and Brent Sikkema Gallery, NYC  

Wangechi Mutu
Collage Artist
“I spent a year with my phone ringing constantly—everyone thinking they were the first to hear her name,” recalls Thelma Golden, the chief curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem, who included Mutu in the museum’s group show “African Queen.” The Nairobi native, who holds art degrees from Cooper Union and Yale and studied anthropology at the New School, has emerged as a hot ticket at art fairs (at Art Basel Miami Beach, Brent Sikkema reportedly sold out of Mutus before the event opened). Peter Norton and David Alan Grier were early supporters; MoMA and the New Museum own her work. Her collages combine National Geographic, motorcycle mags, and porn (for its “very realistic skin tones”); at P.S. 1, Mutu is creating a wall installation. “There’s a recycling mentality about my work,” says Mutu. “I take these pieces of women and give them dignity, a new home.”

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