James Putnam
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'Jake & Dinos Chapman: The Chapman Family Collection'

An evening with Jake and Dinos Chapman at the British Museum 14 May 2003, BP Lecture Theatre

In 2002 Jake and Dinos Chapman unveiled a provocative exhibition at the White Cube Gallery, London entitled 'Works from the Chapman Family Collection'. Dramatically lit and accompanied by a 'museum-style' catalogue complete with inventory numbers, the collection comprised a series of 34 wooden carvings which appeared to resemble African sculptures but on closer inspection could be seen to incorporate the logos and marketing imagery of fast-food giants McDonalds. These painstakingly crafted works executed by the Chapmans themselves were acquired by Charles Saatchi for a reputed 1 million. The mixed messages given out by this apparent parody of African sculpture provoked critical debate about their intentions. Were the Chapmans mocking museum ethnographers and western collectors of so-called 'tribal art' or were they presenting a moral critique of western fast food culture and global capitalism?

The Chapmans discussed this work with a panel which included anthropologist and curator, Jonathan King from the British Museum's Department of Ethnography, African art specialist Augustus Casely-Hayford and the Evening Standard art critic Nick Hackworth. The panel was chaired by James Putnam, Curator of the British Museum's Contemporary Arts & Cultures Programme.

The debate centred on the criticism levelled against this work for being disrespectful of African culture and the transgressive nature of their practice in general. The Chapmans also presented their video work, 'Sacrificial Death and Mutilation in Modern Art'.

Jake and Dinos Chapman
CFC79309302, 2002.
Wood and paint
Jake and Dinos Chapman
CFC76311561, 2002.
Wood and paint

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