Cooper Hewitt “David Adjaye Selects”

New York, USA (2015)

I hope to offer new ways of thinking about space, in which seemingly disparate historical legacies can be unified and recombined to create a dynamic, globally relevant whole, one that acknowledges the contributions of African vernacular culture to a broader, more inclusive definition of modernity. - David Adjaye

This exhibition presents fourteen West and Central African textiles from the museum’s permanent collection curated by David. In exploring Cooper Hewitt’s collection, Adjaye created a dialogue between the museum’s textiles and his own “library of patterns” that serve as a source of inspiration in his work.

The works on view included an Asante kente cloth from Ghana, a bògòloanfini mud cloth from Mali, a Dyula ikat wrapper from Ivory Coast, a Yoruba indigo dyed wrapper from Nigeria and men’s hats from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and Cameroon. Adjaye conceived of the fabrics as a “collective form—a structure.” Furthering this idea, he designed a unique architectural system composed of a series of cylinders on which the fabrics hang, referencing the ornate gilt woodwork in the Marks Gallery, the former drawing room of the Carnegie Mansion.