Last Saturday, I persuaded my husband and two friends to brave the freezing weather here in NY and go with me to see the Chris Ofili exhibit at the New Museum on the next to last day of the show. All four of us were blown away. Ofili gained a lot of notoriety in NY when former mayor Guiliani threatened to withhold public funds from the Brooklyn Museum because they showed Ofili’s painting of the Virgin Mary with elephant dung on it. When you learn about the artist, you understand that his intent had nothing to do with disrespect as he, in fact, is Catholic. Looking at the variety of works in the show, we were impressed with not only their size, but the complexity involved in their creation. After applying many layers of paint, Ofili adds map pins, photos, and other objects to create works of amazing beauty full of color, design, pattern and historical (or sometimes hysterical) references.
Here is a copy of one, entitled Afro Love and Unity.