Artist Willie Cole juxtaposes readymade footwear and African tradition in his series of sculptural masks.
Willie Cole (b. 1955 in Somerville, New Jersey) lives and works in New Jersey.
His work has been the subject of several one-person museum exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1998), Bronx Museum of the Arts (2001), Miami Art Museum (2001), Tampa Museum of Art (2004), University of Wyoming Art Museum (2006), Montclair Art Museum (2006), College of Wooster Art Museum (2013-14).
In 2010, a survey exhibition of his work on paper (1975-2010) took place at the James Gallery of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and traveled to Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Sarah Moody Gallery of Art, University of Alabama and Rowan University Art Gallery, New Jersey.
Several of his sculptures were included in “Reconfiguring an African Icon: Odes to the Mask by Modern and Contemporary Artists from Three Continents” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (2011). In 2013, a traveling exhibition “Complex Conversations: Willie Cole Sculptures and Wall Works” opened at Albertine Monroe-Brown Gallery at Western Michigan University.
In 2015, Cole’s work was included in “Represent: 200 Years of African American Art” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and “Wild Noise: Artwork from the Bronx Museum of the Arts” at El Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana. In 2016, his work was included in “Disguise: Masks and Global African Art” at the Brooklyn Museum.
“Willie Cole: On-Site” opened at the David C. Driskell Center, University of Maryland and traveled to the Museum of Art at the University of New Hampshire, and Arthur Ross Gallery, Philadelphia in 2016. The following year, Cole had solo exhibitions at the Snite Museum of Art at the University of Notre Dame and at the College of Architecture and Design Gallery at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. In 2019, “Willie Cole: Beauties” opened at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University as well as “Willie Cole: Bella Figura” at Alexander and Bonin, New York. You can see more on his site and Instagram. All images © Willie Cole, courtesy of Alexander and Bonin, New York