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Collection > Chris Ofili >

Monkey Magic - Sex, Money and Drugs

1999

  • Medium

    Acrylic, collage, glitter, resin, pencil, map pins, and elephant dung on canvas

  • Dimensions

    95 x 73 x 8 in. (241.3 x 185.42 x 20.32 cm)Each (B: Dung foot): 5 x 6 x 4 1/2 in. (12.7 x 15.24 x 11.43 cm)
    Each (C: Dung foot): 5 x 6 x 6 in. (12.7 x 15.24 x 15.24 cm)

  • Accession number

    99.38A-C

  • Object label

    ​The three shellacked spheres attached to the surface of Chris Ofili’s Monkey Magic - Sex, Money and Drugs, and the two balls on which it stands propped against the wall, are made of elephant dung. It is surprising, even galling, not only to encounter animal excrement in a museum but to see it in combination with shiny glitter and opalescent beads in a meticulously organized, richly decorated artwork. Equal parts irresistible and repulsive, the painting features a hat- and vest-wearing rhesus monkey, tail curling with a flourish, who raises a chalice into which orbs of dung labeled “sex,” “money,” and “drugs” appear to fall. Ofili, a British national born to Nigerian parents, has commented that his painting plays satirically on racist stereotypes, giving viewers what they “want from black artists”—voodoo kings, drug dealers, and the element of the exotic.