In a unique Transatlantic collaboration, the Menil Collection is set to join St. Louis' Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts and the Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos in Nigeria for a global look at the changing meanings of love in contemporary society.
Through the work of more than 20 African artists, as well as a select few from Europe and the Americas, The Progress of Love examines the manner in which technology, economics and politics continue to shape expressions of love across the continent of Africa.
Starting Dec. 2, the Menil Collection will host Global Systems of Love, a port ion of the three-venue Transatlantic exhibit looking at more than 50 works.
Organized by former Menil curator Kristina Van Dyke, who now directs the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, the show will run concurrently at all three venues from October 2012 through April 2013 to explore love as a global ideal, love as an experience and love in terms of death and mourning.
“[The exhibition] is particularly concerned with the question of how technological ‘progress’ is reshaping our understanding of love, in Africa as well as in Europe and America,” Van Dyke said in a statement Thursday.
Starting Dec. 2, the Menil Collection will host Global Systems of Love, a 56-work portion of the Transatlantic exhibit looking at the ways language, mass media, cultural traditions and socioeconomics influence images and expectations of love. The Menil exhibition includes three commissioned works from artist Romuald Hazoumé, filmmaker Zina Saro-Wiwa and musician Emeka Ogboh.
"With our partner institutions we are presenting an unprecedented gathering of works that prompt us to think more clearly and seriously about the meaning of love, in all its expressions and manifestations," said Menil director Josef Helfenstein.
"The fact that the impetus for this rethinking comes primarily from artists in today’s Africa and its diaspora broadens the understanding that our emotional lives have a history, just as our public affairs do — with similarities, differences and cross-currents. I believe that The Progress of Love will open eyes and hearts and minds."
The Progress of Love will be on view at the Menil Collection from Dec. 2, 2012 to March 17, 2013, the Pulitzer Foundation from Nov. 16, 2012 to April 20, 2013 and the Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos from Oct. 13, 2012 to Jan. 27, 2013. A full-illustrated catalogue will accompany the three-venue exhibition.