Chris Ofili

Forward by Peter Doig. Texts by David Adjaye, Carol Becker, Okwui Enwezor, Cameron Shaw, and Kara Walker. Interview with the artist by Thelma Golden

Chris Ofili’s intricately constructed works, combining beadlike dots of paint, collaged images from popular media, and elephant dung, create a unique iconography that marries African artistic and ritual practices with Western art historical traditions and contemporary hip-hop culture. This beautifully designed book, made in close collaboration with the artist, is the first to examine Ofili’s artistic development and surveys his work in watercolor, graphite drawing, and sculpture. Literary and historical parallels from a formidable list of contributors explore the ways through which the artist has grasped his times with a palpable sense of history.


Publisher: Rizzoli

Artists: Chris Ofili

Contributors: David Adjaye, Carol Becker, Peter Doig, Okwui Enwezor, Thelma Golden, Cameron Shaw, Kara Walker

Designer: Green Dragon Office

Publication Date: 2009

Binding: Hardcover

Dimensions: 9 3/4 x 12 1/2 in (24.8 x 31.8 cm)

Pages: 268

ISBN: 9780847832156

Retail: $85 US & Canada | £54 | €68

Status: Available

Chris Ofili

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

David Adjaye

David Adjaye is the founder and principal architect of Adjaye Associates, with offices in London, New York, and Berlin.

Carol Becker

Carol Becker is Dean of The School of the Arts at Columbia University in New York City.

Peter Doig

Peter Doig has had major solo exhibitions at Tate Britain, Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, and the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris among other international museums and galleries. He lives and works in Trinidad.

Okwui Enwezor

Okwui Enwezor is director of Haus der Kunst. He has served as artistic director of several international exhibitions, including the 56th Venice Biennale (2015); La Triennale 2012, Paris; 7th Gwangju Biennale (2008); 2nd Seville Biennial (2006); Documenta 11, Kassel (2002); and the 2nd Johannesburg Biennale (1997). He is the former dean of academic affairs and senior vice president of the San Francisco Art Institute, and has held the position of visiting professor at several universities including Columbia University and New York University.

Thelma Golden

Thelma Golden is Director and Chief Curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem.

Cameron Shaw

Cameron Shaw is a critic and fiction writer based in New Orleans.

Kara Walker

Kara Walker is an internationally renowned visual artist. Her work is included in numerous museums and public collections, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Tate Gallery, London.