Sunday, July 25, 2021

'Intersections: The Art Basel Podcast' Debuts With Architect David Adjaye Who Discusses His Monument (EMOWAA) About RESTITUTION

Sir David Adjaye says in the “Intersections: The Art Basel Podcast” that the type of art that interests him leads to knowledge that “helps us all understand who we are on this planet called Earth.” Archive photo.


ARCHITECT Sir David Adjaye
is a disc jockey (deejay). Or at least he was once upon a time.

This little gem of information can be heard on the inaugural broadcast of “Intersections: The Art Basel Podcast.” The biweekly series debuted a few days ago with two “conversations” (Episodes 1 and 2). The other is with Kasseem Dean aka Swizz Beatz:

Hosted by Art Basel’s Global Director Marc Spiegler with sponsorship by UBS, the podcasts will feature convos with “thought leaders” from the worlds of architecture, design, fashion, literature, music and visual arts. “Intersections” is part of Art Basel’s continuing mission to reach as many as possible in the global creative market.

“Bringing together vibrant voices from all over the globe, 'Intersections' will extend Art Basel's long history of amplifying perspectives from pivotal players within the visual arts and the adjacent areas of cultural activity,” Spiegler says. “The podcast reflects our commitment to offering audiences worldwide access to the conversations shaping contemporary culture.”

A rendering of the Edo Museum of West African Art (EMOWAA) in Nigeria. Photo courtesy of Adjaye Associates.

One of the highlights of Spiegler’s dialogue with Adjaye touched on the emergence at Art Basel of African artists from countries other than South Africa. Adjaye, who helped identify some of these artists, expresses optimism about the viability of the art-collecting and gallery scene on the continent. “Several significant artists are also realizing that they've taken the mantel on to incubate and create spaces for emerging artists in the absence of institutional and commercial operators doing this in the normal, traditional way.”

Adjaye also spoke at length about his current project, the Edo Museum of West African Art (EMOWAA) in Nigeria, emphasizing that it is different from other independence projects and museums because of its emphasis on restitution, artifacts and social memory within communities.

Says Adjaye: “But this is really talking about heading straight and dealing with the other elephant in the room, which is to do with the extraction of the creative heritage of the continent and the fact that it is displaced in the West. And so there’s this bizarre imbalance of ‘Nothing happens down there,’ ... Well, when you burn it all and take it away what do you expect?”

Kim Gordon. Archive photo.

On the next “Intersections” (3 Aug.) Lisa Spellman, founder and director of New York City’s 303 Gallery, and artist-extraordinaire and Sonic Youth co-founder Kim Gordon will journey down memory lane. Under discussion: the impact of gentrification, the relationships between visual artists and musicians on the 1980 and 1990s NYC indy scene, and more.

All episodes of “Intersections” are available to download free of charge across all streaming platforms and on Art Basel’s website:

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