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PRINT Summer 2019

OKWUI ENWEZOR

WE FIRST MET at Art in General in New York in May of 1998, on a panel titled “A Third Space: The Real eState of Things.” I don’t remember what our presentations were supposed to be about, but no matter: Okwui wasn’t down with the program anyway. When it came time for his ten-minute remarks, he began a languorous and unscripted thirty-minute discourse on the problem of the archive, the reception of artists from the Global South, and his views on exhibition making. He was a ray gun set to STUN, and the audience, other panelists, and I sat with rapt attention as he took aim. That afternoon he told a hilarious story about a conference where he’d lectured on a group of artists working in Africa, a collective he referred to as “Beento artists.” When his colleagues, eager to learn more about these unknown art practitioners, asked what country or tribal group they were from, Okwui feigned puzzlement.

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