As an article over at Arts21 notes, “The new Chris Ofili mid-career retrospective at Tate Britain feels like walking through a mixtape of semi-obscure black American music from the last 50 years, created by a middle-aged record shop owner with an encyclopedic knowledge of musical history and a body odor problem.” Actually, it’s not just the backward glance that London’s Tate took of Ofili that seems like a mixtape—all retrospectives have a little of that “Greatest Hits” vibe coupled with a DJ’s curatorial, context-adding skill. Still, we were tickled to see writer Ben Street round up a handful of songs to match the various rooms of the Tate exhibit, which roughly correspond to stages in the prodigious Ofili’s career. From Funkadelic to Minnie Ripperton, it’s a solid half-hour or so of soulfulness, which may inspire us to ditch the audio guides during future museum visits and reach instead for the iPod (or, ideally, the trusty, old yellow Sony Walkwan).
“Letter from London: Chris Ofili, A Mixtape” [Arts21]
Now through May 16, 2010
Millbank, London, England
Images (left to right): “The Adoration of Captain Shit and the Legend of the Black Stars”, Chris Ofili, (1998), copyright Chris Ofili, Courtesy Victoria Miro Gallery, London, “Untitled”, Ofili, (2003), copyright Chris Ofili.