Chris Ofili: Night and Day
Texts by Massimiliano Gioni, Glenn Ligon, Minna Moore Ede, Alicia Ritson, Matthew Ryder, Robert Storr, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye
A major survey including new and celebrated works by Turner Prize–winning artist Chris Ofili. Set to accompany the first major museum show in the United States of contemporary British artist Chris Ofili, this richly illustrated volume surveys two decades of artworks that meld figuration, abstraction, and decoration to yield hybrid juxtapositions of high and low culture. Best known for intricately constructed works featuring beadlike dots of paint, elephant dung, and images culled from popular media, Ofili’s unique lexicon combines African culture, Western art history, and hip-hop music, spanning a wide variety of sources which include the Bible, Zimbabwean cave paintings, Blaxploitation films, and William Blake’s poems. Animated by exotic characters, outlandish landscapes, and folkloric myths, Ofili’s most recent work resonates with references to the paintings of Henri Matisse and Paul Gauguin. This compelling new book offers a fresh perspective on the artist’s vital practice, which both celebrates and calls into question the power of images and their ability to address fundamental questions of representation.
Image: Chris Ofili, The Holy Virgin Mary, 1996
Publisher: Skira Rizzoli
Artists: Chris Ofili
Contributors: Massimiliano Gioni, Glenn Ligon, Minna Moore Ede, Alicia Ritson, Matthew Ryder, Robert Storr, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye
Designer: Green Dragon Office, Los Angeles
Printer: Shapco Printing
Publication Date: 2014
Dimensions: 9 x 12 in (22.9 x 30.5 cm)
Reproductions: Illustrated throughout
Retail: $75 US & Canada | £45 | €60
Since the mid-1990s, Chris Ofili has become well known for his vibrant, technically complex, and meticulously executed paintings and works on paper. While his early works were predominantly abstract, involving intricate patterns and colors, he has since developed a signature figurative style that bridges the gap between the sacred and the profane, and by extension, between high art and popular culture. His works center around the relationship between form and content: often using several layers of paint, resin, glitter, collage elements, and occasionally, elephant dung, Ofili enlists sexual, cultural, historical, and religious references to create uniquely aesthetic and physical works that expose the darker undercurrents of society, while also celebrating contemporary black culture. Drawing on a wide range of sources—from “blaxploitation” movies, the Bible, jazz and hip hop music, comic books, Zimbabwean cave paintings, and the works of artist and poet William Blake—Ofili’s subject matter frequently employs racial stereotypes in order to challenge and reinterpret them.
All Chris Ofili books
Massimiliano Gioni is Artistic Director of the New Museum.
Glenn Ligon is an artist living and working in New York. Throughout his career, Ligon has pursued an incisive exploration of American history, literature, and society across bodies of work that build critically on the legacies of modern painting and conceptual art. He received a Bachelor of Arts from Wesleyan University and attended the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program.
Minna Moore Ede
Minna Moore Ede is Assistant Curator of Renaissance Painting at the National Gallery, London
Alicia Ritson is Research Fellow at the New Museum
Matthew Ryderis a journalist and barrister at Matrix Chambers in London, England
Robert Storr is the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Dean of the Yale School of Art. He was formerly Senior Curator in the Department of Painting and Sculpture at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, where in 1996 he co-organized From Bauhaus to Pop: Masterworks Given by Philip Johnson, amongst numerous exhibitions. In 2002, he was named the first Rosalie Solow Professor of Modern Art at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. He has also taught at the CUNY Graduate Center, Bard Center for Curatorial Studies, Rhode Island School of Design, Tyler School of Art, New York Studio School, and Harvard University, and has been a frequent lecturer in the United States and abroad. From 2005 to 2007, he was Director of Visual Art for the Venice Biennale, the first American invited to assume that position. The exhibition he organized at David Zwirner in the fall of 2013 to celebrate the centenary of Ad Reinhardt was voted “Best Show in a Commercial Space in New York” by the U.S. Art Critics Association.
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye is an artist and writer based in London. She is best known for her fictive portraits drawn from memory, imagination, and the history of European Painting.