Willie Cole in Conversation: Art and Life Inspired by Newark

The Montclair Public Library is honored to welcome acclaimed sculptor and assemblage artist Willie Cole back to Montclair for a discussion of his life and work as a key event of MPL’s African American History Month slate of activities.

Cole, who was raised in Newark, will share the stage with artist and educator Nette Forné Thomas to discuss his unique inspirations and creative processes for recycling discarded materials including steam irons, high-heeled shoes and plastic water bottles to craft spellbinding masks, prints and other works that reference African royalty, slavery, domestic labor, religion and the rich legacy of African American women like his mother and grandmother.

“Anxious Objects: Willie Cole’s Favorite Brands: Willie Cole,” the well-received one-man show of Cole’s work was on exhibit at the Montclair Art Museum for six months in 2006. He’s also had a one-person show at the Museum of Modern Art and had several of his signature masks featured in the Metropolitan Museum of Art show: “Reconfiguring an African Icon: Odes to the Mask by Modern and Contemporary Artists from Three Continents” in 2011. A selection of 3-D sculpture models, books and posters from the artist will be on display in one of the glass display cases on the first floor of the Main Library for patrons to observe and/or purchase.

Thomas, a graduate of Montclair State University with a B.A., M.A., was employed by the Newark Board of Education as an art educator and administrator for 36 years. Thomas has served on the Board of Directors at The 1978 Maplewood Arts Center, The George Segal Gallery at Montclair State University and Pen + Brush, where she also serves as president. Her art has been widely exhibited and she’s curated shows for major artists, including Ben Jones and Chakaia Booker.

Willie Cole in Conversation: Art and Life Inspired by Newark
Monday, February 24 starting at 7 p.m.
The Montclair Public Library, 50 South Fullerton Avenue, Montclair,
973-744-0500 ext. 2236

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