17 January 2007

Folks tend to think of ‘outsider’ artists as utilizing brushes and paints and installation artists as being more well-connected, so the back story of Georges Adéagbo – who developed his craft while held against his will in Benin after getting engaged in France – is as surprising as his installation. Down the hall in the first floor of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where his Abraham, Friend of God, named after Abraham Lincoln and the biblical Abraham, hangs until April, I tend to seek out Pissarro to transport me to a visual consciousness that doesn’t involve billboards and SUVs, but Adéagbo demands that each of his completed works be site-specific, mindful of the culture around it. A reworking for Philly of a work originally made for PS1 in Queens, his traveler’s perspective takes root in the installation, as he juxtaposes found images from print media, entertainment, and everyday life to create a quilt of mental associations, structured loosely around slavery and colonialism in the two hemispheres but tending to focus on current events and cultural interchanges. Worth checking out.

Gallery 176 would be a great spot for Joseph Beuys’ Lightning With a Stag in its Glare, which is owned by PMA but I don’t think they've ever shown it. It’s at MassMOCA, listed as ‘ongoing.’

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