Artist of the Year 2010
The Press on the Awarding of Wangechi Mutu
Premiere in New York: In the framework of a festive lunch at the Norwood Artists’ Club, Deutsche Bank announced the awarding of the Artist of the Year distinction for the first time. On the recommendation of the bank’s Global Art Advisory Council—comprised of the four renowned curators Okwui Enwezor, Hou Hanru, Udo Kittelmann, and Nancy Spector—Wangechi Mutu was chosen to be Artist of the Year 2010.
On Twitter, the news spread rapidly throughout the international art scene. The new prize entails an exhibition at the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin. Deutsche Bank is right on target, says Kelly Crow of the Wall Street Journal. "For artists, the only thing more coveted than a cash prize is a major museum exhibition. That’s what Deutsche Bank is offering to its new Artist of the Year—Wangechi Mutu, a Nairobi-born artist who now lives in New York." Much in the same vein, artinfo quotes Friedhelm Hütte, Global Head of Art, Deutsche Bank: "'There could be no better person to start with than Wangechi Mutu.'" And the reason Okwui Enwezor gives for the jury’s decision in favor of Mutu is the "constant excavation of her process, the constant excavation of her own ideas, and her breaking boundaries within that." "We have to applaud the first-rate jury", said Ingeborg Wienowski in Kulturspiegel, "because it awarded the price to an artist who is virtually unknown in Europe. The colorful collages with their surreal stories and bizarre black women's bodies are very impressive."
The Post of Zambia also reports on the award going to the Kenyan artist: "Mutu’s thought-provoking mixed media collages have gained worldwide acclaim because of her ability to bring both physical and conceptual, layered depth to her work. Using images cut from fashion magazines, National Geographic, and books about African art, Mutu pieces together figures which are both elegant and perverse." Mutu’s collages, writes the Kölner Stadtanzeiger, "are impressive in the way they link terror, beauty, and social criticism." And AVIVA contends that Mutu’s art is directed "against the language of representation … the presentation of black female identity is imminent in her work, as are current political events and the post-colonial discourses of the African diaspora."
The Canadian National Post reports that Mutu has just had her "big week": "On Tuesday, Mutu was chosen by Deutsche Bank as their Artist of the Year, while on Wednesday her first North American solo show opened at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto." The magazine Sleek happily announces that "Wangechi Mutu was just appointed Artist of the Year 2010 in New York by Deutsche Bank. While the year isn’t yet two months old, which leads us to hope that much will happen before it comes to a close, Mutu is so high up on our list of favorite artists that she can gladly be appointed artist of the years 2011-2030." And Art also informs its readers about "Deutsche Bank’s new art prize" and quotes Friedhelm Hütte, who connects this award to the bank’s global commitment to art: "'With the Artist of the Year Award, we aim to underscore the philosophy of Deutsche Bank’s art program: to support young contemporary artists from all over the world.'"