In The Frame
In The Frame
In The Frame

Cos I’m happy: Paa Joe’s uplifting Ghanaian fantasy coffins

by The Art Newspaper  |  8 August 2017
Cos I’m happy: Paa Joe’s uplifting Ghanaian fantasy coffins
Anton Kannemeyer, Black Scream, 2015, ©Anton Kannemeyer. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

What brings together Ghanaian fantasy coffins and the idea that art can save you? The Coffins of Paa Joe and the Pursuit of Happiness (until 24 August), the latest exhibition at Jack Shainman on show across the gallery’s 24th Street Chelsea location in New York and its other venue, The School in Kinderhook. The mammoth show—a smorgasbord of more than 125 artists featuring big names such as El Anatsui, Hank Willis Thomas and Nan Goldin—revolves around two thematic groups: a collection of Gold Coast slave castles by the Ghanaian artist Paa Joe and a private collection of historic oil paintings. “The sculptures by Paa Joe were commissioned by the gallery’s late co-founder, Claude Simard, himself a voracious collector whose spirit infuses many of the unexpected objects on display throughout The School,” a press statement says. “Fashioned in the spirit of Ghanaian fantasy coffins, Paa Joe’s structures form a bridge between the material world and possibilities beyond impermanence.” Look out for Titus Kaphar’s Menina, an imagined image of the dark-skinned child supposedly born from a secret affair between an African dwarf attendant and The Queen of France, Maria Teresa (a historic image of the queen, by a follower of Velazquez, hangs alongside).

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