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Ouattara Watts

Ouattara Watts (b. 1957, Abidjan, Ivory Coast) is an American artist who uses brilliant colors, dynamic patterns, and hypnotic signs and symbols to explore the spiritual ties between people that transcend location or nationality. He constructs fantastic landscapes and mystical scenes to examine these metaphysical relationships. Watts has established a large lexicon of quantitative, geographic, musical, and scientific symbols and forms, both modern and ancient, to communicate his dynamic vision. Taking inspiration from Africa, his Parisian education, and his life in New York, he combines found artifacts, fabric, collage, and traditional painting and drafting methods, creating images that invoke his multicultural identity and give rise to various socio-historical readings. As he has stated: “My vision is not bound to a country or continent…While I use identifiable pictorial elements to be better understood, this project is nevertheless about something much wider. I am painting the Cosmos.” Watts studied at L’École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, France, before relocating to New York in 1989.

Notable exhibitions include the Museum of Modern Art (2021); Espace Paul Rebeyrolles, France (2019); Galerie Cécile Fakhoury, Abidjan (2018); Dakar Biennale of Contemporary African Art, Dakar, Senegal (2018); Venice Biennale, Venice (2017); La Villette, Paris (2017); National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C.(2006); Documenta 11, Kassel, Germany (2002); and the Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial, New York (2002), among others. His work can be found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York; Smithsonian National Museum of African American Art, Washington, D.C.; The Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire; Collection Mohammed IV, Morocco; Fondation Dapper, Paris, France; Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Saratoga Springs, New York; and the UC Berkeley Museum of Art and Film Archive, Berkeley, California, among others.
Photo by James Fischetti

Photo by James Fischetti

Born 1957, Abidjan, Ivory Coast
Lives and works in New York, New York

EDUCATION

1984

L’École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France

 

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2022

Karma, New York, Paintings

2019

Fondation Paul Rebeyrolle, Eymoutiers, France, Resonances

Magazzino d’Arte Contemporaneo, Rome

2018

Galerie Cécile Fakhoury, Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Before Looking at This Work, Listen to It

La Rotonde, Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Get Ready

2016

Magazzino, The Armory Show, New York, New Painting

2015

Galerie Boulakia, Paris

2013

FIAF Gallery, New York, Ouattara Watts: The Project Room

2012

Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld, New York, Vertigo

2009

International Contemporary Art at Glen Carlou, Paarl, South Africa, Hess Art Collection: Andy Goldsworthy and Ouattara Watts

2008

Galeria Leyendecker, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands

Hess Art Collection, Paar, South Africa

Magazzino, Rome, Outlaw

2007

Mike Weiss Gallery, New York, Ouattara Watts: For Lily

2006

Mike Weiss Gallery, New York, Ouattara Watts: Works on Paper

2004

The Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover

Magazzino, Rome, Crossing Currents-The Synergy of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Ouattara Watts

Marella Arte Contemporanea, Milan

Tracy Williams Gallery, New York

Magazzino, Rome, Ouattara Watts: Opere Recenti, curated by Okwui Enwezor

2002

Leo Koenig, New York

1999

Magazzino, Rome, Ouattara: in Roma

1998

Baldwin Gallery, Aspen, Ouattara: New Work

1996

The Kemper Museum, Kansas City, Ouattara: Dark Star

1995

Gagosian Gallery, New York, Ouattara: New Paintings

1994

University Art Museum, Berkeley, Ouattara

1993

Galerie Boulakia, Paris

1992

Vrej Baghoomian Gallery, New York

1990

Galerie Boulakia, Paris

Akira Ikeda Gallery, Nagoya

Vrej Baghoomian, New York

1989

Marilyn Butler Gallery, Los Angeles

 

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2021

Gwanju Biennale, Gwanju, South Korea, Minds Rising, Spirits Tuning

Museum of Modern Art, New York, Surface Tension

Bienvenu Steinberg & Partner, New York, The Queen of Spades…and other stories

2019

Foire internationale d’art contemporain, Paris

Galerie Cécile Fakhoury, Abidjan, Ivory Coast, L’Esprit du large chapitre II

Galerie Cécile Fakhoury, Dakar, Sénégal, L’Esprit du large

Exposition Panafricaine Itinérante, Casablanca, Prête-moi ton rêve

2018

MAXXI, Rome, African Metropolis, an Imaginary City

13th Dakar Biennial, Dakar, L’heure rouge

2017

FM, Milan, The White Hunter, curated by Marco Scotini

Grande Halle de La Villette, Paris, Afriques Capitales

2016

11th Dakar Biennial, Dakar

2011

Bertrand Delacroix Gallery, New York, Ouattara Watts and Katy Schimert

2010

Charest-Weinberg Gallery, Miami, In Dialogue : Four Generations of Painting, curated by Peter Makebish

2009

Charest-Weinberg Gallery, Miami, HERD THINNER, curated by David Hunt

2006

John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, Wisconsin, Intersections: Shifting Identity in Contemporary Art

Mike Weiss Gallery, New York, Realm of the Spirit

National Museum of African Art, Washington D.C., Body of Evidence

2003

New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, Black President – The Art and Legacy of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti

2002

Documenta 11, Kassel, Germany

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Whitney Biennial

Contemporary Art Center, New York, The Short Century: Independence and Liberation Movements in Africa, 1945-1994

2001

Gorney Bravin Lee, New York

1997

Fukui Fine Arts Museum, Fukui, Japan

Chiba Museum of Art, Chiba, Japan

1994

Vrej Baghoomian Gallery, New York

Centro Atlantico de Arte Moderno, Las Palmas, Un Altre Pais

La Caixa, Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona, La Virreina Expositions

1993

Venice Biennale, Venice

1992

Calvin Morris Gallery, New York, Other Drums: Visionary Works

Navara Gallery, New York, Haessle, Ouattara, Ray Smith

1991

Alternative Museum, New York, Syncretism: The Art of the 20th Century

Vrej Baghoomian Gallery, New York, Social Sculpture

New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York

University Art Museum, Berkeley, African Explores: New and Renewed Forms in 20th Century Art

1990

Vrej Baghoomian Gallery, New York, It Must Give Pleasure: Erotic Perceptions

Patrick and Beatrice Haggerty Museum of Art, Milwaukee, Images of Death in Contemporary Art

1988

Vrej Baghoomian Gallery, New York, Summer Exhibition

1986

Galerie Georges Lavrov, Paris

1985

Musée National des Arts Africans et Océaniens, Paris

 

PUBLIC COLLECTIONS

Fondacao Sindika Dokolo, Angola

Fondation Antoine de Galbert, Paris

Fondation Dapper, Paris

The Eileen S. Kaminsky Family Foundation, New Jersey

The Hess Art Collection, South Africa

The Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, New Hampshire

The Tang Museum, Saratoga Springs, New York

The UC Berkeley Museum of Art and Film Archive, Berkeley

Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington D.C.

Museum of Modern Art, New York

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