We wandered through the Chris Ofili exhibition “Night & Day” last week and found lots to admire, massive paintings, vibrant, powerful, sexy, an exciting show. We had been to MOMA that morning for the Matisse cut-outs, and for my money (Mr. Ofili’s paintings run in the high 6 figures) this was twenty first century Gauguin, Le Douanier Rousseau, Matisse, and then add in a crazy dim gallery, housing the “Blue Rider” series. We sat here a long time there, and as our eyes adjusted the paintings came to life, and began to dance as we moved around the gallery. Psychedelic black light mysteries.
The New Museum show is the first major solo museum exhibition in the United States of Chris Ofili’s work.
From the New Museum::
“Occupying the Museum’s three main galleries, “Chris Ofili: Night and Day” spans the artist’s influential career, encompassing his paintings, drawings, and sculptures. Over the past two decades, Ofili has become identified with vibrant and meticulously executed artworks that meld figuration, abstraction, and decoration. The artist’s diverse oeuvre has taken imagery and inspiration from such disparate, history-spanning sources as the Bible, hip-hop music, Zimbabwean cave paintings, Blaxploitation films, and the works of William Blake. As the title of the exhibition suggests, Ofili’s practice has undergone constant changes, moving from boldly expressive to deeply introspective across an experimental and prodigious body of work. The exhibition features over thirty of Ofili’s major paintings,a vast quantity of drawings, and a selection of sculptures from over the course of his career.”