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The most comprehensive examination of the art of Radcliffe Bailey (b. 1968) to date, this exhibition highlights the artist’s ceaseless experimentation with diverse forms as it looks at the influence of African art on his work. It features floor and wall sculptures, paintings, works-on-paper, and modified found objects— all created since 1993. Bailey’s art, informed by a strong social and historical consciousness and solidly grounded in family and community, combines a rich, narrative content with a high-level of abstraction and poetic resonance to explore questions of history and memory.
The exhibition includes Bailey’s monumental Windward Coast, a sculptural installation that shapes wooden piano keys from more than 400 pianos into undulating waves. The piece, which the New York Times calls “a star attraction” among the thirty-some pieces presented, layers references to the African slave trade, to water, bodies and blood, and evokes musicality, human transcendence and survival.
Curated by Carol Thompson, Fred and Rita Richman Curator of African Art, with Michael Rooks, Wieland Family Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art, Radcliffe Bailey: Memory as Medicine is organized by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta. It is made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts as part of “American Masterpieces: Three Centuries of Artistic Genius.” Additional support is provided by the Lubo Fund and the Radcliffe Bailey Guild.
The presentation and related programs at the Davis are generously supported by Wellesley College Friends of Art, the Constance Rhind Robey ’81 Fund for Museum Exhibitions, and the Betsy Patterson Colburn ’70 Endowed Fund for Davis Museum Program Support.