Born in Nairobi, artist Wangechi Mutu (Kenyan, b.1972) was educated in Great Britain and the United States. Having received a BFA from Cooper Union College in New York in 1996 and an MFA from Yale University in 2000, Mutu creates paintings and collages that incorporate a variety of themes and materials. Her pastiche-like works on paper are made from Mylar polyester film, acrylic paint, packing tape, glitter, and imagery from magazines. She explores themes of sexuality and femininity, violence, consumerism and excess, and the rift between nature and culture. For a 2005 work called Cancer of the Uterus, Mutu used a medical pathology diagram, facial features cut from a magazine, fur, and a heavy application of black glitter to create an eerily distorted, mask-like face. Mutu is currently represented by the Barbara Gladstone Gallery in New York, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, and the Victoria Miro Gallery in London. Her work has been exhibited at many institutions, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Miami Art Museum, the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. Mutu currently lives and works in New York.

Timeline

1972
Born in Nairobi, Kenya
1991
I.B. United World College of the Atlantic, Wales, UK
1994
Richard Leakey Merit Award, Nairobi
1996
BFA, Cooper Union for the Advancement of the Arts and Science, New York, NY
1998
Masters of Fine Art Fellowship, Sculpture Department, Yale University, New Haven, CT
2000
MFA, Yale University, School of Art - Sculpture, New Haven, CT
2000
Fannie B. Pardee Fellowship, New Haven, CT
2001
Jamaica Center for the Arts Fellowship, Queens, NY
2003
Studio Museum In Harlem Artist In Residence, New York, NY
2003
Cooper Union Artist Residency, New York
2004
Art Pace Residency, San Antonio, TX
2004
The Chrysalis Award, The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporic Arts, New York
2005
Steep Rock Residency, Washington,CT
2006
Cooper Union President’s Citation in Art, New York, NY
2007
The Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Award New York, NY
2008
The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant, New York, NY
2008
Cooper Union Urban Visionaries Awards, Emerging Talent Award, New York, NY
2010
Artist of the Year Award, Berlin
Lives and works in New York

Exhibitions

2010
Disidentification, Goteborgs Konsthalle, Goteborg, Sweden
Disquieted: Contemporary Voices from Out of the Shadows, Portland Art Museum, Oregon
Until Now: Collecting the New 1960-2010, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis
Inaugural Group Exhibition, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Culver City
Visceral Bodies, Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver
Contemplating the Void, Guggenheim, New York
Hunt Bury Flee, Gladstone Gallery, New York (solo)
This You Call Civilization?, Art Gallery of Ontario, Ontario (solo)
Faces, Galleria Monica De Cardenas, Milan
The Secret Lives of Trees, Galleria Monica De Cardenas, Zuoz
“Afro-Moderni: Journey’s Through the Black Atlantic,” Tate Liverpool, Liverpool
“The Visible Vagina,” David Nolan, New York
“Wangechi Mutu: My Dirty Little Heaven”, Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin, Germany, traveling to: Wiels Museum, Brussels, Belgium
2009
“Collection: MOCA’s First Thirty Years,” Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
“The Spectacle of the Everyday,” Biennale d’art Contemporain de Lyon, Lyon
“Dress Codes: The Third ICP Triennial of Photography and Video,” International Center of Photography, New York
“Wishful Thinkers,” Milk Gallery Project, New York, NY
“Damaged Romanticism,” Grey Art Gallery, New York University, New York, NY
“Black Womanhood,” San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, California
“Collected,” Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY
“Paint Made Flesh,” Frist Center for Visual Arts, Nashville, TN, curated by Mark Scala
Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego (solo)
Performa 09, Performa Biennial, New York
Collection, Washington DC and Memorail Art Gallery, Rochester, NY
Rebelle, Art & Feminism 1969-2009,Museum voor Moderne Kunts, Arnhem, Netherlands
Sortilége, Fondation pour L'art Contemporain, Claudine et Jean-Marc Salomon, Alex, France
2008
Wangechi Mutu In Whose Image?, Kunsthalle Wien Museum, Vienna (solo)
"Little Touched”, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects
2007
“Triumph of Painting,” The Saatchi Gallery, London, UK
YO.N.I, Victoria Miro Gallery, London (solo)
The Cinderella Curse, ACA Gallery of SCAD, Atlanta (solo)
Cleanning Earth, Franklin Artworks, Minneapolis (solo)
Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles projects, Los Angeles (solo)
2006
“An Alien Eye: and other killah anthems,” Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York (solo)
“Exhuming Gluttony: a Lover’s Requiem,” Salon 94, New York (solo)
“Global Feminism,” Brooklyn Museum, New York
“USA Today,” Royal Academy of Art, London
“The Santa Fe Biennial,” Site Santa Fe, Santa Fe, NM, curated by Klaus Ottman
“The Seville Biennale,” Seville, Spain, curated by Okwui Enwezor
“Having New Eyes,” Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, CO
"INFINITE PAINTING - Contemporary Painting and Global Realism," Villa Manin Centre for Contemporary Art, Passariano, Italy, curated by Francesco Bonami and Sarah Cosulich Canarutto
“New African Art,” Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA
New work: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
2005
Drawing from The Modern, 1975-2005, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Figures of Thinking: Convergences in Contemporary Cultures, Richard A. Peeler Art Center, DePauw University, IN (traveling to the McDonough Museum of Art, Youngstown State University, OH, and the Joel and Lila Harnett Museum of Art, University of Richmond, VA)
Greater New York 2005, PS1, Long Island City, NY
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
Amazing Grace, Miami Art Museum, Miami, FL
"problematica”, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects
2004
Pin-Up: Contemporary Collage and Drawing, Tate Modern, London, UK
Fight or Flight: Kristin Baker, Amy Gartrell, Rico Gatson, Wangechi Mutu, Marc Swanson, and Ivan Witenstein, Whitney Museum of American Art at Altria, New York, NY
Gwangju Biennial, South Korea
Color Theory, Vitamin Arte Contemporanea, Turin, Italy
Figuratively, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY
Open House: Working in Brooklyn, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, Brooklyn, NY
Africa Remix, Kunstpalast Duesseldorf, Germany, (traveled to Centre Pompidou, Paris, France and the Hayward Gallery, London U.K.)
Art Pace, San Antonio, TX
2003
Only Skin Deep, International Center of Photography, New York, NY
Looking Both Ways: Art of the Contemporary African Diaspora, Museum for African Art, Long Island City, New York, NY
New Art Wave, BAM, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, NY
The Broken Mirror, Leroy Neiman Gallery at Columbia University, New York, NY
Black President: The Art and Legacy of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, The New Museum, New York, NY (traveled to The Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnatti, OH; The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA; Barbican Centre, London, U.K.)
Creatures, Jamaica Center for the Arts and Learning, Queens, NY
"Pagan Poetry”, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects
2002
Favourites ll, Serge Ziegler Galerie, Zurich, Switzerland
1997
Life’s Little Necessities, Johannesburg Biennale, The Castle, Cape Town, South Africa