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Faisal Abdu’Allah: Blu³eprint

September 23, 2022 – April 2, 2023

Overview

WHERE: State Street, in front of the Museum

Carved from limestone and measuring almost seven feet in height, Blu³eprint depicts artist Faisal Abdu’Allah seated in a Belmont barber’s chair, a nod to the significance of the barbershop both within his artistic practice and his personal history. For Abdu’Allah, a trained barber, the barbershop reflects the Black experience as a place of physical renewal and social solidarity for generations of men.

Abdu’Allah selected the title to express the communal power associated with the Black salon. The artist made the “u” in “Blu³eprint” to the power of three, to reflect the three “u’s” in the Zulu word “Ubuntu.” Ubuntu is an African concept referring to the interconnected nature of humanity. It communicates the idea that we are human only through the humanity of others, or, “I am because we are.”

Abdu’Allah’s pose may be familiar to some. It mirrors a sculpture that has been an enduring feature of Madison’s public art landscape—Abraham Lincoln (1909), a bronze monument by Adolph Weinman situated atop the University of Wisconsin’s Bascom Hill. In recent years, the monument has generated controversy among some UW students who argue that President Lincoln’s anti-immigrant policies and his belief, despite his opposition to slavery, in white racial superiority means that the monument should be removed.

Abdu’Allah conceived of Blu³eprint as a counter-monument to the Lincoln sculpture—a contemporary work erected as a counterpoint to an existing monument. “My philosophy is that artists have always been the shapers of social consciousness, and for me this piece illustrates that,” Abdu’Allah said.

The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art commissioned Blu³eprint, which was fabricated at Quarra Stone Company in Madison. Blu³eprint is the initial phase of Faisal Abdu’Allah’s upcoming exhibition at MMoCA titled DARK MATTER, which opens in September 2022.

Faisal Abdu’Allah is Professor of Printmaking and Associate Dean for the Arts in the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he was named the Chazen Family Distinguished Chair in Art in 2021.

Artwork

Sculptor works on a sculpture while the model Faisal Abdu'Allah is standing next to it
Photo by Jim Escalante.
Sculptor works on a sculpture while the model Faisal Abdu'Allah is standing next to it
Photo by Jim Escalante.
Sculptor works on a sculpture while the model Faisal Abdu'Allah is standing next to it
Photo by Jim Escalante.
Sculptor works on a sculpture
Photo by Jim Escalante.
Sculptor works on a sculpture
Photo by Jim Escalante.

Turn Your Selfie into a Work of Art!

Faisal Abdu’Allah’s next project will be to make an art book using pictures with his statue Blu³eprint (located on State Street, just outside the Museum entrance).

To participate:

  • Snap a selfie with the statue—remember not to touch the art!
  • Submit it to MMoCA via the Google Form or using the hashtag #Blu3eprint

Faisal Abdu’Allah X MMoCA: Blu³eprint

Learn more about Blu³eprint by listening to Faisal Abdu’Allah talk in this video.

Press

Sculpture of UW-Madison art professor brings message of ‘shared humanity’
The Capital Times

Faisal Abdu’Allah’s Blu³eprint hopes to spark conversations about the complexities of historical monuments
Madison365

Watch Now: New ‘counter monument’ sculpture on State Street celebrates shared humanity
Madison.com

New sculpture by UW-Madison professor unveiled on State Street
The Daily Cardinal

Abdu’Allah sculpture unveiled on State Street in Madison
University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Education News

Barber, printmaker, professor finds humanity beyond race
University of Wisconsin–Madison News

Building a ‘Counter-monument’: Abdu’Allah unveils sculpture aimed at better representation
University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Education News

Best of Madison Editors’ Picks 2022
Madison Magazine

Abu’Allah’s Blu³eprint is honored as ‘Best New Piece of Public Art’ by Madison Magazine
University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Education News

How do Madison monuments represent our community?
Madison Magazine

Artist Faisal Abdu'Allah standing in front of his counter-monument modeled after him
Photo by Sarah Maughan.

Accessibility

Exhibition labels are available in English and Spanish. Large-print labels are available in the galleries.


barber's chair
The chair on which Abdu’Allah sits in Blu3eprint is modeled after a Belmont barber chair.

Faisal Abdu’Allah, The Barber’s Chair, 2017. Gold plating, leather, aluminum, cast iron, 49x55x25 inches. Commissioned by Autograph ABP.

Support

Presenting Sponsorship for Faisal Abdu’Allah: DARK MATTER has been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Major Sponsorship has been provided by Gina and Michael Carter, and Husch Blackwell. Additional support has been provided by Dane Arts with additional funds from the Endres Mfg. Company Foundation, the Evjue Foundation, Inc., charitable arm of the Capital Times, the W. Jerome Frautschi Foundation, and the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation.

Museum Purchase, through partial gift from the Artist and Quarra Stone, and support from the Gabriele Haberland Fund. / Compra del Museo, mediante donación parcial del Artista y Quarra Stone, y apoyo del Fondo Gabriele Haberland.