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Njideka Akunyili Crosby to become the second artist to wrap MOCA's Grand Avenue building in a massive painting

Njideka Akunyili Crosby to become the second artist to wrap MOCA's Grand Avenue building in a massive painting
Artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby in her Los Angeles studio. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Njideka Akunyili Crosby has had a big year. The Los Angeles-based painter, known for creating intricately collaged domestic scenes that evoke visual elements of her native Nigerian culture, was named a MacArthur Foundation fellow in October.

Now she’s getting even bigger. Literally.

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Next month, the artist will install a block-long work of art at the Museum of Contemporary Art on Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles — a piece that will wrap the museum’s entire facade. She is only the second artist to create such a work; the first was installed by L.A. painter Jonas Wood one year ago.

Akunyili Crosby, says MOCA assistant curator Lanka Tattersall, “makes work that resonates with the global, hybrid identities of so many residents of Los Angeles, and in the world at large today.”

The new project at MOCA, she adds, “is as rich with references to contemporary life as it is with vibrant patterns.”

The artist is known for depicting intimate familial settings with layers of paint, photographs and found images — the latter of which are often drawn from news clippings and Nigerian lifestyle magazines. These she frequently bathes in tinted washes, giving the images a nostalgic feel.

Detail of a rendering of Njideka Akunyili Crosby's facade installation at MOCA Grand Avenue.
Detail of a rendering of Njideka Akunyili Crosby's facade installation at MOCA Grand Avenue. (Njideka Akunyili Crosby / MOCA Los Angeles)

“It’s like a faint, faded memory of a place I used to know, a place I used to live in,” she told The Times’ Deborah Vankin in November.

Installation of Akunyili Crosby’s facade piece is scheduled to begin Jan. 2 and is expected to take about a week.

MOCA's Grand Avenue facade is getting a makeover courtesy of Los Angeles artist Jonas Wood, who is wrapping the building in a print that evokes his domestic interiors.
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