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Gallery Talk and Performance Inspired by Wangechi Mutu’s Crocodylus with Creative Assembly Cohort Member Lauren Messina and Javier Banks

Wed, January 31st at 12:30 PM

Expand your experience of Wangechi Mutu: Intertwined with monthly gallery talks inside the museum or in the Besthoff Sculpture Garden on select Wednesdays: January 31, February 7, March 6, April 3, May 1, June 5, July 10. 

Inspired by Wangechi Mutu’s Crocodylus sculpture in the Besthoff Sculpture Garden, Creative Assembly Cohort member Lauren Messina has choreographed a dance that embodies her interpretation of the work’s transformative nature, “being—not woman, not animal,” and “depicting power and deep scrutiny of human relations between the body and nature.” The event begins with a short talk by Messina about the sculpture and creating the dance, followed by a performance from Javier Banks alongside the sculpture. 

Gallery talks are free with museum admission. Louisiana residents receive free admission on Wednesdays courtesy of The Helis Foundation. 

To book your ticket for this gallery talk in advance, click the link below.

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About the Exhibition 

This major solo exhibition of work by Wangechi Mutu brings together nearly one hundred sculptures, paintings, collages, drawings, and films to present the breadth of the Kenyan–American artists’ multidisciplinary practice from the mid-1990s to today. On view January 31–July 14, 2024, Wangechi Mutu: Intertwined traces connections between recent developments in Mutu’s sculptures and her decades-long exploration of the legacies of colonialism, globalization, and African and diasporic cultural traditions. The exhibition travels to NOMA from the New Museum, New York.

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About the Performers

Lauren Messina

Lauren Ashlee Messina, M.F.A. (she/her) is a Big Easy Award-winning dance choreographer with a heart for community engagement. Born in Springfield, Illinois, Lauren has developed her career in the Greater New Orleans area in collaboration with the Marigny Opera Ballet, KM Dance Project, the New Orleans Opera, ELLEvate Dance Company, Dow-Dance Company’s Binge Dance Festival, and the CAC New Orleans as a 2022 Performing Artist-in-Residence. Her choreography has been performed at the New York Jazz Choreography Project, the 92nd Street Y, the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, and the Mississippi Museum of Art. Lauren received the Ailey School’s Oprah Winfrey Foundation Scholarship and participated in the Moving Toward Justice Open Workshop pilot program at Gibney Dance. She is a 2023 Platforms Fund grant recipient, founder of My Free Dance Class, and host of The Parent Artist Podcast on YouTube. In addition to dance, Lauren participated as a video editor for NOVAC’s 2022-2023 Community Documentary Cohort and published the creativity journal and college editions of ChatGPT Prompts for Dancers (available on Amazon). Lauren aims to create meaningful movement experiences that inspire empathy and transformation by collaborating with artists across disciplines in a thriving collective environment that prioritizes mutual respect, trust, and care.

Javier Banks

Javier Banks was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and began dancing at the age of fourteen. They studied at Dancers’ Workshop, under Sharon Mathews and Susan Perlis. With awarded scholarships, Banks also studied at the American Ballet Theatre and Dance Theatre of Harlem. As a freelance dancer, they have performed works with the Alaya Dance Company, Kennedy Dancers, Brooklyn Ballet, Marigny Opera Ballet, and Ballet Hysell.

Wangechi Mutu: Intertwined is organized by the New Museum, New York. Lead support for this exhibition is provided by the Henry Luce Foundation. Generous support for this exhibition is provided by the Ed Bradley Family Foundation, Agnes Gund, Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by The Robert Lehman Foundation. Support for the accompanying publication has been provided by the A4 Arts Foundation.

The presentation in New Orleans is sponsored by the Ford Foundation. Additional support is provided by Delta Airlines, Gladstone Gallery, Walda Besthoff, Victoria Miro Gallery, The Windsor Court, Keith Fox and Tom Keyes, Aimée Farnet Siegel and Mike Siegel, Robin Rankin, Elizabeth Boh, Pat Mitchell and Scott Seydel, Harvey and Marie Orth, and Jeff Childers and Onay Gutierrez.


Wed, January 31st
12:30 PM
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