Awol Erizku Mystic Parallax Exhibition The Momentary

Contemporary artist Awol Erizku will unveil a new solo exhibition later this month at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art‘s hybrid event space, dubbed The Momentary. Born in Ethiopia and based in Los Angeles, Erizku’s multi-disciplinary practice encompasses sound, sculpture, film, photographs and installations, as he rejects Eurocentric notions of beauty in favor of his own singular vernacular that he calls “Afro-esotericism.”

It might be better to describe Erizku as a master sampler, who synthesizes references across ancient mythologies and art history, hip hop and entertainement, along with African and Black-American cultures, as he forms new dialogues between disparate subject matter, such as his frequent juxtaposition of wildlife with pop cultural icons in Kevin Durant, Nipsey Hussle and Michael B. Jordan.

In Mystic Parallax, Erizku presents new and existing works, including a previously unseen installation entitled Celestial Bloom, which features a real Cessna 150 airplane, suspended in the air and overflowing with a medley of flowers streaming in-and-out of the cockpit. The Momentary, which typically serves as a music venue, will be shown in a new light, as Erizku’s six-foot mirrored bust of Nefertiti will create a kaleidoscopic galaxy across the ceiling.

“My focus extends beyond mere preoccupation with art history; it’s deeply intertwined with my vision for cultural evolution,” said Erizku in a statement. “This line of thinking often leads me back to music. When I began drawing connections and creating imagery inspired by lyrics or subcultures, it stemmed from a place of reverence and deep understanding of their essence. I make a concerted effort to elevate these influences, honoring their significance while pushing boundaries.” 

At the core of the exhibition lies an intended ambiguity that encourages open dialogue and interpretation, as audience members work together to decode Erizku’s layered catalog of motifs. Mystic Parallax will open on May 25 and run through October 13.

The Momentary
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

600 Museum Way,
Bentonville, AR 72712

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