The Progress of Love was a transatlantic collaboration between Pulitzer Arts Foundation, The Menil Collection in Houston, and the Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos in Nigeria. The three concurrent but unique exhibitions that made up The Progress of Love constituted a narrative arc addressing love as an ideal, love as a lived experience, and love as something lost. At the Pulitzer, the exhibition brought together works by four contemporary artists living in Africa, Europe, and the United States to offer a range of perspectives on the final stage of love’s inevitable narrative—the loss of love, and what we do without it.
Central to The Progress of Love was the recognition that this most natural and universal of emotions has actually evolved over the centuries, finding different expressions, meanings, and norms in different circumstances. At the Pulitzer, four artists were chosen to reflect these diverse perspectives on love and loss: Sophie Calle, Temitayo Ogunbiyi, Zina Saro-Wiwa, and Yinka Shonibare, MBE. Through a variety of different media, these artists not only revealed the tension between universal and cultural aspects of love, but also provoked consideration of the complex and tangled phenomena—historical, technological, and economic—that mediate our own expressions and experiences of love.