Iago's Mirror reflects Shakespeare's Othello, the story of a black Muslim military commander in the Venetian outpost of Cyprus who is tragically undone by his soldier Iago's racist manipulations. Here, Wilson represents Iago's duplicitous double-dealings, desire for recognition, and evil nature by reimagining the concept of a Venetian mirror. Working with Murano glassmakers, he reverses centuries of tradition by painting the glass's flip side black rather than silver, and deepens the darkness with multiple layers. The result is an ominous portrait of an iconic villain. As Iago says in Shakespeare’s play, “I am not what I am.”


  • Title: Iago's Mirror
  • Creator: Fred Wilson
  • Date Created: 2009
  • Physical Dimensions: 80 x 48 3/4 x 10 1/2 in.
  • Provenance: Sold by the artist to The Pace Gallery, New York; 2011, sold by Pace Gallery to the MFA.
  • Subject Keywords: African American Artist
  • Type: Glass
  • Rights: John and Ernestine Payne Fund and The Heritage Fund for a Diverse Collection. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. All Rights Reserved.
  • External Link: MFA Website Entry
  • Medium: Murano glass, plywood, metal pins

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