February 7, 2013
Richmond Center for Visual Arts, room 2008
Willie Cole grew up in post-industrial Newark, N.J., and sees himself as an "urban archaeologist." His work draws from traditional African art to create contemporary works in many media, and is best known for his found-object sculptures, prints and photographs. Cole's art often transforms everyday mass-produced objects into precious icons or symbolic representations that explore ideas of diversity, identity, and commercialization. Some recent exhibitions include "Deep Impressions: Willie Cole Works on Paper" at the Brooks Museum of Art in Memphis (2011); Post Black and Blue" at Alexander and Bonin Gallery in New York (2010) and a retrospective travelling exhibition "Anxious Objects: Willie Cole's Favorite Brands" which has been presented at Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, Stanford, Calif., Frye Art Museum, Seattle, Wash. and Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, Mich. Willie Cole is the recipient of many awards, including the 2006 Winner of the David C. Driskell Prize, the first national award to honor and celebrate contributions to the field of African American art and art history established by the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. Cole attended the Boston University School of Fine Arts, and received his BFA degree from the School of the Visual Arts in New York in 1976, and continued his studies at the Art Students league of New York Art from 1976-79.