The Guggenheim Museum in New York City has acquired a painting by the Ghanian star painter Amoako Boafo, his gallerist Mariane Ibrahim announced on Wednesday. The work, called Joy Adenike (2019), is a large portrait painted in Boafo’s signature finger-painted style, enters the museum’s collection later this week, marking a significant career milestone for the 36 year-old artist.
According to his gallerist, the Guggenheim first expressed interest during last year’s Art Basel Miami Beach, where Mariane Ibrahim had staged a solo exhibition of new works by Boafo. The artist is usually based between Accra and Vienna, and had his first solo show in the United States only last year, after Kehinde Wiley recommended him to his gallery Roberts Projects. By the end of the year, Boafo had been curated by Nina Chanel Abney into a group show at Jeffrey Deitch Los Angeles, sold out his solo booth at Art Basel Miami Beach, and was selected as the Rubell Museum inaugural artist-in-residence. His career continued to rise this year with a strong secondary market debut in February, when The Lemon Bathing Suit (2019) sold at Phillips London for more than 13 times its estimate of £50,000, closing at £675,000.
The news of thee acquisition comes amidst a difficult time for the museum, which last month was forced to address accusations of racism and mismanagement. A law firm was recently hired to conduct an independent investigation of the museum’s practices after Chaédria LaBouvier, the first Black woman to curate an exhibition at the museum in its history, accused chief curator and artistic director Nancy Spector of fostering a hostile work environment during the museum’s 2019 Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibition. LaBouvier called working with Spector “the most racist professional experience of her life”.