El Anatsui in St. Louis, Too!

Today, while I was hurrying to a meeting, I caught sight of one of El Anatsui’s signature tapestries; the photo was on the back page of the St. Louis Art Museum’s newsletter, by chance on top of the heap in our inbox. Fading Cloth (2005, mixed media, 126×255) now on view in Sculpture Hall at the St. Louis Art Museum, looks like a tapestry woven in gold and raffia but is composed of discarded tops from liquor bottles. El Anatsui, whom I wrote about yesterday, creates gorgeously intricate wall hangings that comment on the history of West Africa while alluding to the traditions of Western art. The St. Louis Art Museum, as I remember it, has several striking pieces by Dale Chihuly and two versions of Matisse’s Oceanie, le ciel (Ocean, Sky). Also on view now (until September 16) is an exhibit entitled Symbols of Power: Napoleon and the Art of the Empire Style, 1800-1815, which features over 240 decorative objects—furniture, jewelry, textiles, sculpture, etc.—created during Napoleon’s reign, plus two stately portraits that apotheosize the ruler: Napoleon I on His Imperial Throne by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and Napoleon Visiting the Battleflield of Eylau by Antoine-Jean Gros. And St. Louis also has Eero Saarinen’s Gateway Arch on the banks of the Mississippi River that evokes Huck Finn and Jim’s meandering journey. For all these reasons, St. Louis may be well worth a summer trip!


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