Chris Ofili: Night and Day

“I’ve found that the night and twilight here enhances the imagination. In the city our relationship to the night is very particular because it’s always illuminated, but here it’s unlit, so you’re relying on the light of the moon and sensitivity of the eyes.”
– Chris Ofili (2010)*

Installation view of the exhibition, Chris Ofili: Night and Day. Photo by Maris Hutchinson/EPW All artworks © Chris Ofili. Courtesy David Zwirner, New York/London . Source: http://artobserved.com
Installation view of the exhibition, Chris Ofili: Night and Day. Photo by Maris Hutchinson/EPW All artworks © Chris Ofili. Courtesy David Zwirner, New York/London . Source: http://artobserved.com

Chris Ofili: Night and Day was the title of the artist’s first solo retrospective in the USA, curated by Massimiliano Gioni (New Museum, New York, 29 October – 1 February 2015).  The exhibition featured more than 30 of Ofili’s paintings, collages and a selection of sculptures displayed over three floors of gallery space at 235 Bowery.

Photograph of “No Woman, No Cry” (1998), by Chris Ofili, on display at Tate Britain. Artwork © Chris Ofili. Photo: Carol Dixon.

I was very fortunate to review the illustrated catalogue of the exhibition for publication via caa.reviews – critiquing the artist’s portfolio alongside essays and commentary pieces by Massimiliano Gioni, Minna Moore Ede, Robert Storr, Glenn Ligon, Matthew Ryder, Alicia Ritson, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.

Photograph of the New Museum at 235 Bowery, New York.
Photograph of the New Museum at 235 Bowery, New York.

As a former recipient of the Turner Prize in 1998, with work established in the Tate’s British Art Collection and the MOMA Collections in New York, Chris Ofili (b. 1968, Manchester, UK) is considered one of the most accomplished contemporary artists of his generation, whose international profile is continually enhanced by the success of these high-profile exhibitions. Lisa Phillips, director of the New Museum, is right to describe him as an artist who “consistently inspires us and challenges us to rethink the way we see the world” (Foreword, in Gioni 2014: 9).

The full text of my review, published by the College Art Association, can be viewed online via this link.

Film footage of the exhibition at New Museum is available via You Tube.

Links and References:

Dixon, C. A. (2015) Chris Ofili: Night and Day. Review. College Art Association. [Online] www.caareviews.org/reviews/2621

Gioni, M. (2014) Chris Ofili: Night and Day [Catalogue of the exhibition at the New Museum, 29/10/2014-1/2/2015]. New York: Skira Rizzoli in association with New Museum.

Exhibition overview – posted online by the New Museum:
http://www.newmuseum.org/exhibitions/view/chris-ofili.

No Woman, No Cry (1998) by Chris Ofili. Oil paint, acrylic paint, graphite, polyester resin, printed paper, glitter, map pins and elephant dung on canvas. Dimensions 2438 x 1828 x 51 mm. British Art Collection, Tate (Ref: T07502).

*The quote is taken from Christy Lange’s interview with Chris Ofili, published by Tate, in which he discusses works from his series of blue paintings (see: Tate Etc. Spring 2010).

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Carol Dixon

Carol Ann Dixon is an education consultant and academic researcher interested in African and Caribbean diaspora histories and heritage, cultural geography, museology and contemporary visual art. Her PhD dissertation/doctoral thesis is titled "The 'othering' of Africa and its diasporas in Western museum practices" (University of Sheffield, UK, 2016).

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