Saturday 05/20/23 3PM-5PM
New Museum TheaterVisit Us
Conversations · Exhibition-Related · Exhibition-Related

Mutu X Music: Afrobeat, Hip Hop, Funk, and the Art of Wangechi Mutu

Cover Image:

Wangechi Mutu, Yo Mama, 2003. Ink, mica flakes, acrylic, pressure-sensitive film, cut and pasted printed paper, and painted paper on paper, diptych, overall 59 1/8 × 85 in (150.2 × 215.9
cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Judith Rothschild Foundation Contemporary Drawings Collection Gift, 2005. Courtesy the artist and Vielmetter Los Angeles. Photo: Robert Edemeyer

Experience Wangechi Mutu’s creative world through music. Hear Mutu’s friends and fellow artists discuss how their music, visual, and political practices intersect and overlap in a conversation accompanied by clips of songs that inspire them and resonate with the current exhibition, “Wangechi Mutu: Intertwined.”

This afternoon of conversation will consider the relationship between Mutu’s visual strategies of collage, hybridity, and mutation and sonic practices across genres, from 1970s Afrobeat to contemporary Hip Hop. Artists and musicians will discuss the political charge of African and diasporic music genres, emphasizing the role of Black women across music, art, and activism.

Exhibition co-curators Vivian Crockett and Margot Norton will kick off the afternoon in conversation with Trevor Schoonmaker, Director of the Nasher Museum, to reflect on the twentieth anniversary of Mutu’s inclusion in Schoonmaker’s 2003 New Museum exhibition, “Black President: The Art and Legacy of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.” Immediately following, scholar and catalog contributor Maureen Mahon will moderate a conversation with artist Sanford Biggers and musician DJ Reborn.

A recording of this conversation can be found on our YouTube channel and below:


Live CART captioning will be provided for this program by StenoCaptions.

We strive to make our programs as accessible as possible. For full accessibility information, including services available by request, please click here.

About the Speakers

Sanford Biggers is a Harlem-based interdisciplinary artist who works in film/video, installation, sculpture, music, and performance. His work speaks to current social, political, and economic happenings while examining the contexts that created them. As creative director and keyboardist, he fronts Moon Medicin, a multimedia concept band that straddles visual arts and music with performances staged against a backdrop of curated sound effects and video.

Vivian Crockett is Curator at the New Museum and a Brazilian-American scholar focusing largely on modern and contemporary art of African diasporas, Latinx diasporas, and the Americas at the varied intersections of race, gender, and queer theory. Crockett co-curated “Wangechi Mutu: Intertwined” with Margot Norton.

DJ Reborn is a trailblazing international DJ, sound collage artist, and arts educator. She is the resident DJ for Lauryn Hill’s world tour, and the founder of DJs for Justice, a coalition of DJs using their platforms in service of racial, social, and economic justice. She is currently developing an international performance piece archiving the stories of women in the DJ world.

Maureen Mahon is a cultural anthropologist whose research interests include African American music and culture and the construction and performance of race, gender, and sexuality in popular music. She is professor and chair of the Department of Music at New York University.

Margot Norton is the Chief Curator at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive and the former Allen and Lola Goldring Senior Curator at the New Museum. Norton recently co-curated “Wangechi Mutu: Intertwined” and the 2021 New Museum Triennial, “Soft Water Hard Stone.”

Trevor Schoonmaker is the Mary D.B.T. and James H. Semans Director at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. He is a longtime collaborator with Wangechi Mutu on numerous commissioned works and exhibitions, including “Black President: The Art and Legacy of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti” at the New Museum in 2003.


Support for Education and Public Engagement programs is provided, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, and from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

We gratefully acknowledge the Bowery Council of the New Museum for its support of Education and Public Engagement Programs.

Endowment support is provided by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund; the Skadden, Arps Education Programs Fund; and the William Randolph Hearst Endowed Fund for Education Programs at the New Museum.

Support for “Wangechi Mutu: Intertwined” can be viewed here.

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