From his provocative Cover Girl series featuring photographic portraits of himself on the covers of popular magazines, to his writings on sexuality and identity, the work of Nigerian-born Iké Udé explores a world of dualities: African/postnationalist, photographer/performance artist, artist/spectator, male/female, mainstream/marginal, seduction/narcissism, and fashion/art. As an artist from Nigeria working in New York City, connected to the world of fashion and celebrity, Udé gives the political aspects of performance and representation a new vitality, melding his own theatrical selves and multiple personae with his art. Like Andy Warhol, Udé plays with the ambiguities of the marketplace and art world, particularly in his notorious art, culture, and fashion magazine, aRUDE.
This book, which accompanies a traveling exhibition organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art at the Maine College of Art, in Portland, Maine, is the first comprehensive publication on Udé's photography. The book contains photographs of the installations "Beyond Decorum", "Uses of Evidence", and "Project Rear"; several series, including Cover Girls, Uli, and Celluloid; and photographs from his magazine aRUDE. The book also includes essays by Lauri Firstenberg, Kobena Mercer, Olu Oguibe, Valerie Steele, Octavio Zaya, and Iké Udé himself, as well as an interview with Udé conducted by Okwui Enwezor. The reader meets Udé the artist, editor, dandy, and aesthete. In his writing, Udé speaks of the futility of stereotypes, and in his photography, he brings to life the image of the artist in a plenitude of guises.
Institute of Contemporary Art
24 February-13 April 2000
Sert Gallery, Carpenter Center
Harvard University Art Museums