November 13, 2019

Wangechi Mutu’s Works to Grace the Met Facade Until June

Wangechi Mutu’s Works to Grace the Met Facade Until June


The Metropolitan Museum of Art is extending the run of a landmark exhibition of Wangechi Mutu’s sculptures, situated on the museum’s Fifth Avenue facade, until June 8. (The run was originally slated to end Jan. 12.)

Installed in September, Ms. Mutu’s sculptures are the first to be exhibited in the four niches of the Met’s Fifth Avenue facade.

Max Hollein, who became director of the Met last year, and has sought to bring the museum in a more global and contemporary direction, saw them and saw an opportunity to bring new life to an entrance he described as “the calling card of the Met.” The museum selected Ms. Mutu, who splits time between New York and Nairobi, and is known for her painting, drawing, collage, film and sculpture.

The four sculptures are made of Bronze and depict seated women, dressed in coiled garments with discs placed on different parts of their heads. They are influenced both by European and African sculptural traditions, Ms. Mutu told The Times in September. Mr. Hollein said the reception has been ecstatic — part of the reason the museum is extending their run. “They are not only a great addition to the facade, but challenge the institution and challenge our narratives in a very prominent way,” Mr. Hollein said in a telephone interview on Wednesday.

“It’s such an important moment for her work, and for the Met, and it’s such an important statement she’s making with these sculptures, we can extend it a little longer,” he said. “I’m someone who really loves to get things going and then react a little bit to the outcome, and the outcome was really extraordinary.”

After Ms. Mutu sculptures are removed, the facades won’t sit empty. In the fall of 2020, another artist’s work will be placed there, after a selection process.



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