Major Exhibition of Artist Wangechi Mutu Opens at the New Orleans Museum of Art This Month

Major Exhibition of Artist Wangechi Mutu Opens at the New Orleans Museum of Art This Month

On view January 31–July 14, 2024, Wangechi Mutu: Intertwined features installations in the museum and site-specific interventions in NOMA’s Besthoff Sculpture Garden.

NOMA marks the opening of Wangechi Mutu: Intertwined with a free public celebration featuring renowned Nairobi-based musician and producer Blinky Bill, who fuses African influences with hip-hop, jazz, and funk.

Programming throughout the exhibition includes a presentation by the artist, after-hours NOMA at Night events, film and music offerings, and a free family day.

NEW ORLEANS — This month, the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) opens a major solo exhibition of work by Wangechi Mutu, bringing together nearly one hundred sculptures, paintings, collages, drawings, and films to present the breadth of the Kenyan–American artist’s 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.

NOMA’s presentation of the exhibition uniquely connects Mutu’s work inside the museum’s galleries with two sculptures by the artist permanently sited in NOMA’s Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden: The Seated III, 2019, one of four sculptures originally created by Mutu for niches on the façade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Crocodylus, 2020, an otherworldly femme-reptilian hybrid figure that signals Black feminine power and sovereignty.

For the first time, a NOMA exhibition will include interventions in the Besthoff Sculpture Garden with the temporary outdoor installation of Mutu’s bronze sculpture In Two Canoe and a special gallery of works in the indoor pavilion located within the garden. The pavilion has not been completely reinstalled since it opened in 2019, and it has never been used to display works for a special exhibition.

On Wednesday, January 31, NOMA will celebrate the exhibition with an opening party headlined by renowned Nairobi-based musician, producer, and DJ Blinky Bill. In his solo career and with his group Just a Band, Blinky Bill combines African influences with the sounds of hip-hop, jazz, and funk. His forthcoming album, We Cut Keys 2, will be released on January 19.

Free and open to the public, this opening program will also include access to the exhibition; a collage-making and assemblage art workshop with artist and designer Denisio Truitt and NOMA’s Creative Aging and Access Coordinator Jessica Johnson; and a pop-up hosted by the museum’s Teen Art Council. Café NOMA will be open serving food and a specialty cocktail throughout the evening.

Additional exhibition programming includes:

  • A presentation by Wangechi Mutu on Wednesday, April 3
  • Screenings of the artist’s films in NOMA’s Lapis Center for the Arts every Wednesday and select Sundays
  • Monthly gallery talks by museum curators, staff, and invited guests on Wednesdays, January 31, February 7, March 6, April 3, May 1, June 5, and July 10
  • Two after-hours NOMA at Night programs on Fridays, April 5 and July 12
  • Music in the Garden programming on Sundays, April 7 and 14
  • And a free family day of all-ages exploration on Saturday, April 20

In addition to receiving free admission throughout the run of the exhibition, NOMA members have the opportunity to visit the exhibition before the regular museum day during Member Magic Hours on Saturdays, February 24 and May 25, 9–10 am. To become a member, visit

Exhibition Credits and Support

Wangechi Mutu: Intertwined is organized by Vivian Crockett (Curator, New Museum) and Margot Norton (Chief Curator, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, and former Allen and Lola Goldring Senior Curator, New Museum) with Ian Wallace (Curatorial Assistant, New Museum) for 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, and Harvey and Marie Orth.

About NOMA and the Besthoff Sculpture Garden

The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) and its Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden are home to innovative exhibitions, installations, educational programs, and research. Exploring human creativity across time, cultures, and disciplines, the global scope of the museum’s initiatives open a vibrant dialogue with the history and culture of New Orleans. The museum stewards a collection of nearly 50,000 works, with exceptional holdings in African art, photography, decorative arts, and Japanese art, as well as strengths in American and French art, and an expanding collection highlighting contemporary artists. The museum’s exhibitions and dynamic learning and engagement offerings serve as a forum for visitors to engage with diverse perspectives, share cultural experiences, and foster a life of learning at all ages. Recent exhibitions include Black Orpheus: Jacob Lawrence and the Mbari Club, Called to the Camera: Black American Studio Photographers, The Orléans Collection (an exhibition of forty European masterpieces from the collection of the city’s namesake, Philippe II, Duc d’Orléans), East of the Mississippi: Nineteenth Century America Landscape Photography, and Changing Course: Reflections on New Orleans Histories (seven contemporary art projects focusing on reimagining stories from the city’s past).  

NOMA’s 12-acre Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden expands visitors’ experiences of the museum with one of the most notable sculpture gardens in the country. The Besthoff Sculpture Garden, free and open to the public seven days a week, has nearly 100 sculptures and outdoor works situated in a unique landscape featuring Spanish moss-laden live oaks and a sinuous lagoon surrounded by an expansive ecosystem of native plants. The works in the garden range from the 19th to the 21st centuries, with pieces by Auguste Rodin, Louise Bourgeois, Ida Kohlmeyer, Claes Oldenburg, Larry Bell, Sean Scully, Fred Wilson, Maya Lin, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Teresita Fernández, Ugo Rondinone, Hank Willis Thomas, and many others. The Besthoff Sculpture Garden features contemporary design elements—including a sculpture pavilion, an amphitheater, and an architecturally significant canal link bridge connecting the garden’s original 2003 footprint with a 2019 expansion. Its water management practices support the health and resiliency of New Orleans City Park and the surrounding environment. Throughout the year, NOMA hosts outdoor programs in the Besthoff Sculpture Garden including festivals, performances, wellness classes, tours, and more.