The Progress of Love
The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts presents the exhibition The Progress of Love, on view from November 16, 2012 to April 20, 2013. As part of an unprecedented transatlantic collaboration, The Progress of Love at the Pulitzer is one of three concurrent but unique exhibitions that together address the narrative arc of love. The Menil Collection in Houston, Texas; the Centre for Contemporary Art in Lagos, Nigeria; and The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in St. Louis, Missouri will each explore an aspect of love: love as an ideal, love as a lived experience, and love as something lost. The three exhibitions explore the meanings and experiences of love in today’s global society, as seen by more than 24 contemporary artists from Africa and a select few from Europe and America. The project is curated by Kristina Van Dyke, director of the Pulitzer, and Bisi Silva, director of the Centre for Contemporary Art in Lagos, Nigeria. The Pulitzer presentation of the exhibition was assisted by Francesca Consagra, former curator at The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts and current senior curator of prints, drawings, and European paintings at the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin.
The Progress of Love at the Pulitzer will focus on the end of love and its aftermath. The exhibition will feature multimedia installations and photography by British-Nigerian artists Zina Saro-Wiwa and Yinka Shonibare, MBE, French artist Sophie Calle and American-Jamaican-Nigerian artist Temitayo Ogunbiyi. The Progress of Love is free and open to the public. The exhibition will open with a reception on Friday, November 16 at 5 p.m. Artist Sophie Calle will give a lecture on Wednesday, November 14 at 6 p.m. at Steinberg Auditorium at Washington University.
“The Progress of Love is not a conventional contemporary African exhibition,” said Kristina Van Dyke, director of The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts. “The inclusion of both African and Western art will encourage and enable visitors to examine their own ideas about love and the effects of cultural constructs on how we process love and loss.”
The Progress of Love in all three institutions will be tied together by a joint website and documented by a fully illustrated print catalogue, which includes essays by curators Van Dyke and Silva. Other contributors include Francesca Consagra; Elias Bongmba, professor of Religious Studies at Rice University; and Banning Eyre, senior editor at Afropop.org.
The Progress of Love at The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts will present the work of Zina Saro-Wiwa, a British-Nigerian filmmaker, video artist, and director of the award-winning documentary This Is My Africa. Her video installations, Mourning Class: Nollywood (2010) and Sarogua Mourning (2011), explore complex and often conflicting mourning rituals that mark the end of relationships, in this case loss brought about by death. The exhibition will also include Take Care of Yourself (2007) by Sophie Calle, a multimedia installation that features the insightful and humorous responses of 107 women—including a parrot and two puppets—to a break-up letter the artist had received via e-mail. The Pulitzer is the first institutional venue in the United States to present Take Care of Yourself.
Two works by Yinka Shonibare, MBE, including Addio del Passato (2011) will be featured. In these works, the artist re-stages the story of Britain’s greatest naval hero, Lord Horatio Nelson, and his estranged wife Frances, as a foil to shed light on the layered historical conventions that we absorb and rely on to process the loss of love. Finally, The Progress of Love will feature works by Temitayo Ogunbiyi, an American-Jamaican-Nigerian artist. Her installation, entitled Lovely Love Text Message Books (2012), consists of a limited edition set of booklets that will be dispensed at the Pulitzer through a vending machine. The books have suggested text messages that can be sent to one’s lover for different occasions.
In keeping with its mission to incorporate all forms of art to facilitate different experiences of the exhibition, the Pulitzer will host a series of events and programs related to the exhibition, including films, poetry readings, lectures, panel discussions, and gallery talks with curators and artists. The Pulitzer’s signature music programs, Sound Waves and the St. Louis Symphony Concert Series, will also continue to be held. In addition, the Pulitzer will host a curatorial tour of the exhibition each month, as well as a number of informational programs throughout the exhibition’s five-month run. For more information, please visit www.pulitzerarts.org.
WHO: The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts
WHAT: The Progress of Love
RECEPTION: Friday, November 16 at 5-9 p.m.,
Opening reception at 5 p.m. (free and open to public); Artist’s remarks at 6 p.m.
LECTURE: Wednesday, November 14 at 6 p.m.
Free lecture by artist Sophie Calle at Steinberg Auditorium, Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63112
EXHIBITION: November 16, 2012—April 20, 2013
Wednesdays, Noon-5 p.m. & Saturdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
WHERE: The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts (in Grand Center)
3716 Washington Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108
ADMISSION: Free and open to the public. No appointment necessary.