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Willie Cole (American, b.1955)
LOT ID: 63139
Gas Snakes, 1992

Mixed Media, gas pump nozzles, rubber hose, and rebar
65 х 24 х 27 in. (165.1 x 60.96 x 68.58 cm.)
Lot description
Each 'Gas Snake' measures approximately 65 x 24 x 27 inches. Total installation size varies.

Created as a reaction to the Gulf War, ‘Gas Snakes’ by Willie Cole presents a critical and humorous response to the resulting oil and gas crisis in 1992. Looking like cobras ready to strike, these four sculptures are comprised of gas nozzles set atop coiled rubber hose and structured with rebar in various poses. Speaking to the chronic gas and oil dependency seizing the world, Cole creates a poignant work which captures the critical danger and vulnerability contemporary society faces, as well as suggesting alternative motives for waging wars.

American artist Willie Cole is known for his mixed media sculptures that focus on the cultures of West Africa. His ability to turn everyday household objects such as irons and lawn jockeys into expressive sculptures is what separates him from other contemporary sculptors. His upbringing by both his mother and grandmother in the 1960’s created a strong impact on his artwork, for his use of irons in his sculptures is meant to signify the domestic role of African women during this time. His fascination with African art flourished as he continued his education at the School of Visual Arts in New York, where he learned to hone his artistic talents by focusing much of his attention on the culture of the Yoruba society. Recently Cole’s work was exhibited at the Museum of Arts and Design (New York, NY), Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art (Kansas City, MO) and Birmingham Museum of Art (Birmingham, AL).

Selected Public Collections:
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA
Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada
The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
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