P R E S S R E L E A S E S 2003
May 14, 2003
MASS MoCA Exhibits Hand-Painted Movie Posters from Ghana
June 14, 2003 through January, 2004
(North Adams, Mass.) Outrageous Supercharge an exhibition of 19 hand painted Ghanaian movie posters will open at MASS MoCA on June 14 and run through the summer and fall of 2003 at MASS MoCA. The colorful posters, painted on large canvas flour sacks, were created between the mid-'80s and '90s in the West African nation of Ghana. The posters were made in response to a nascent form of mobile cinema -- entrepreneurs brought the latest videos (along with gas-powered generators, VCRs, TV monitors or projectors, and speakers) to Ghana's rural hinterlands where they set up make-shift movie houses and they hired Ghanaian professionals such as D.A. Jasper, Leonardo, and Death is Wonder to promote the films of Hollywood, Bollywood, and Hong Kong with outrageously super-charged paintings.
These wildly imaginative images are the first paintings on canvas in Africa and were created to withstand the wear and tear of traveling much better than commercially produced paper posters could. The increasing availability of VCRs and video cassettes brought on the decline of this vibrant trend – documented in this gallery with works made before 1996 – almost as soon as it appeared.
Outrageous Supercharge includes promotional posters for films like Barb Wire, Terminator, Freejack, Leprechaun 2, and Never Too Young To Die among others. Other artists represented in the exhibition are Dan Nyenkumah, Leonardo (Edward Lampley), Joe Mensah, and Stoger.
Many of the posters are from the collection of African art scholar Ernie Wolfe III who owns Ernie Wolfe Gallery in West Los Angeles. He has spent the last 28 years immersed in African art and culture. He has written two books on African art and founded the gallery in 1981. He lives with his wife and two sons above his gallery in West Los Angeles. More of Wolfe's collection can be seen in the book Extreme Canvas: Hand-Painted Movie Posters from Ghana (Dilettante Press, 2000) which includes essays by Clive Barker, Walter Hill, Gus Van Sant, and Angelica Huston among others.
MASS MoCA is the country's largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts and is located in North Adams, Massachusetts, on a restored 19th-century factory campus. Through August 31, MASS MoCA's galleries are open from 10 - 6 every day. Gallery admission is $9 for adults, $3 for children 6 - 16, and free for children under 6. Members admitted free year-round. For additional information, call 413 662 2111 or visit www.massmoca.org.
For Immediate Release