Anxious Objects:
Willie Cole's Favorite Brands

Artist's Biography

  • Is a contemporary African-American artist (born 1955) who grew up in post-industrial Newark, N.J., and sees himself as an “urban archaeologist."
  • Has been practicing art since 1965, when he began taking art classes, and has been exhibiting since 1986.
  • Draws from traditional African and Asian art, as well as contemporary art, to create works in many media, and is best known for his found-object sculptures.
  • Transforms everyday mass-produced objects into precious icons or symbolic representations that explore ideas of diversity, identity, and commercialization.
  • Uses methods of free association, repetition, spontaneity, and improvisation.
  • Believes in the core spirit of an object; all of his work revolves around and emphasizes spirituality.

The links to the right provide background information and activities that will support a greater understanding for your visit to the Cantor Arts Center, introducing Willie Cole's work, as well as other, related art on view at the Center. We gratefully acknowledge the staff of the Montclair Art Museum for educational materials and advice that informed the Educator Packet and the accompanying webpages.

Artist's Biography

Artist's Influences

Try This Yourself

Exhibition Educator Packet
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Activities and Discussion (password: cardinal)