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“Bird XI”

Published September 9, 2020

For this season’s final Art Walk feature, we bring you round to MoFA’s front door. Earlier this year, MoFA was proud to work with @mastercraftsmanstudio_fsu to conserve Ed Love’s monumental “Bird XI” and reinstall it in a place of prominence.

From Lisa Farrington’s “African-American Art: A Visual and Cultural History”: “Guggenheim fellow Ed Love (1936-1999) turns metal scraps into commanding visual statements replete with the iconography of accusatory rage against black oppression, […] honor for ancient Egyptian gods, and modern jazz musicians while, at the same time, evoking the abstract forms of West African statuary. [His work] is informed by the epic power and drama of the murals of Siqueiros; the totem-like verticality of David Smith’s Cubi series; and the rhythms of jazz and reggae music,” what Robert Farris Thompson called “Monuments to the Future.”

Informed by both the distant and recent pasts, Love sculpted metaphors for the history of Black people in the Americas, sculptures, in the artist’s own words, of “black men in the Middle Passage, brought from Africa, scattered everywhere in pieces; black women attempting to put them back together again.”