After Latifa finished installing her Currents exhibition, we had a chance to sit down together and talk about her work. Our Currents: Latifah Echakhch exhibition is the first solo museum show for the Moroccan-born artist. Her project had already brought so many ideas to my mind, but it was great to hear how many different ways Latifa considered the ideas she was interested in. I was even more excited to later find out that the Schiller Collection and her time at the Columbus Museum of Art inspired her proposal for the Frieze Projects at Frieze New York 2012. Excerpts from my discussion with Latifah can be found here.
One of the greatest parts of my job is being able to get away from my desk during installation week. Besides the fact that I can wear my comfortable jeans and high tops, I watch an artist I respect and admire work with my colleagues and create a new experience for our visitors. Since October I have anxiously been waiting to hear from Latifa Echakhch and find out the final details of the exhibition. Over the course of the last three days, I have been in awe of her careful consideration of every detail.
In 2010 I invited Latifa to participate in our Currents series. Each artist in the series is provided access to our permanent collection and asked to present a body of work that is inspired by what they find. Latifa chose to consider lithographs from the Schiller Collection. Made from 1930-1950, most of the prints look at economic, political and social issues in America. Over the last several years Latifa has created projects that consider cultural icons and the ways in which people use or abuse ideas around difference. Her interest in the democratic nature of printing has been a part of a few of these projects, and I was please to know that our collection inspired her to think about these ideas more deeply.
Last year I sent her a list of the hundreds of prints included in the Schiller Collection. Latifa carefully considered each image, choosing 16 as reference points for her latest installation. In addition, she has found the perfect icon of the American West to spark our imaginations and encourage us to rethink our assumptions. I mean really, when is the last time you’ve seen a tumbleweed?
Columbus Museum of Art’s Currents: Latifah Echakhch exhibition will be on view January 13, 2012 – April 1, 2012. The Currents series is supported by a grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.