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El Anatsui, They Finally Broke the Pot of Wisdom, 2011, copper wire, found aluminum, 15' 6" x 23'.

El Anatsui

Jack Shainman Gallery | West 20th Street

El Anatsui, They Finally Broke the Pot of Wisdom, 2011, copper wire, found aluminum, 15' 6" x 23'.

By now the story of El Anatsui is famous: In 1995, a Ghanaian artist in his fifties who lives in Nigeria, in an off-the-beaten-track town called Nsukka, has his first one-man show with a London gallery. Over the next fifteen-plus years, he shows extensively, in galleries, museums, and international exhibitions—New York, Osaka, Paris, Berlin, Milan, Mumbai, Moscow—including a triumphant appearance in the 2007 Venice Biennale. His work comes to hang in public collections running from the British Museum in London to New York’s Museum of Modern Art. It’s something of a fairy tale, and, as such, predictably misleading: As Susan Vogel writes in her recent book on the artist, Nsukka gave Anatsui a more cosmopolitan base than parochial Westerners might imagine. Before his global recognition, not only was he well established in Nigeria and a professor at the national university,

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