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Detroit Institute of Arts acquires Murano glass chandelier sculpture by Fred Wilson
To Die Upon a Kiss, Fred Wilson, 2011, Murano glass. Detroit Institute of Arts.
DETROIT, MICH.- The Detroit Institute of Arts has acquired To Die Upon a Kiss, a spectacular Murano glass sculpture in the form of a chandelier by artist Fred Wilson. It will be on view beginning Feb. 5.

To Die Upon a Kiss is monumental in size—approximately 6’ x 6’—and will hang from the ceiling in one of the DIA’s contemporary galleries. It is based on 17th-century Venetian glass lighting fixtures seen in palaces and homes along the Grand Canal. The title, To Die Upon a Kiss, consists of the dying words spoken by Othello, the lead character in Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice.

Wilson will be honored at the museum’s annual Alain Locke Awards event on Feb. 10 at 2 p.m., when he will discuss the new acquisition and his other work in a talk titled “Speak of Me as I Am.” The event is free with museum admission and is sponsored by the DIA auxiliary Friends of African and African American Art.

Wilson is a renowned conceptual artist known for what he calls “museum interventions,” site-specific installations that recontextualize existing art objects and artifacts selected from museum collections. His intent is to alter the objects’ traditional meanings or interpretations in a way that raises questions about the politics of exclusion.

In 2003, Wilson represented the United States at the 50th Venice Biennale with the solo exhibition Fred Wilson: Speak of Me as I Am, a mixed-media installation that focused on Africans in Venice and looked at issues and representations of blacks and whites. He is a past recipient of the prestigious John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant.

The Alain Locke Awards
Dr. Alain Locke (1886–1954), a distinguished African American intellectual of his generation, was the leading promoter and interpreter of the artistic and cultural contributions of African Americans to American life. As a professor of philosophy, his theory of "cultural pluralism" valued the uniqueness of different styles and values available within a democratic society.

Friends of African and African American Art established the Alain Locke Awards in 1992 to honor individuals dedicated to the promotion and understanding of African American culture. Recipients must have exhibited exemplary courage, commitment and leadership in promoting Locke’s legacy.

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