Fred Wilson, Untitled (Zabid, Sokoto, Tokolor, Samori, Veneto, Zanzibar, Dhaka, Macao), 2011, illuminated acrylic painted globe, tassels, steel armature, plaster figure, and powder coated aluminum plate, 28 x 20 x 20 inches

Questioning how museums engage and display art, and how context directly effects meaning, has driven Fred Wilson’s career. Honored with a MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant in 1999, followed by Larry Aldrich Foundation Award in 2003, Wilson’s work incorporates the use of new wall labels, sounds, lighting, and non-traditional pairings of objects.  A Conceptual artist born in the Bronx, he refers to himself as of “African, Native American, European and Amerindian” disent, and all play a role in his work.  For his installation at the 2003 Venice Biennale, he hired someone to sell fake designer bags to tourists – the bags being of Wilson’s own creation.  He also created his iconic “blackamoors” that referenced the traditional Italian sculptures of African servants found almost anywhere in Venice – so much so, that people no longer recognize their meaning.

For the next month the Bay Area is lucky enough to have his work showcased at Rena Bransten Gallery.  The show opens Saturday, February 4th and runs through March 31st – so be sure to check it out.  View the full press release here.

Fred Wilson, Goin’ Places, 2003, murano glass, candlestick: 13 x 6 ½ x 8 inches; head: 11 ½ x 5 x 10 inches   Courtesy of Rena Bransten Gallery