Artists Mildred Thompson and Theaster Gates Headline the Spelman College Museum of Fine Arts 2019/2020 Exhibition Series

ATLANTA (August 27, 2019) Spelman College Museum of Fine Art is proud to announce that it will launch its exhibition season with “Mildred Thompson: The Atlanta Years, 1986 – 2003,” on view Wednesday, Sept. 11, through Saturday, Dec. 7.

“As the Museum races toward its 25th anniversary in 2021, it is focused on honoring its mission to inspire and enrich communities through art by and about women of the African Diaspora,” said Andrea Barnwell Brownlee, Ph.D., C’93, director of the Museum. “The upcoming exhibitions exemplify the Museum’s focus on presenting relevant exhibitions that excite and intrigue the Spelman College community and general audiences alike.

This original exhibition curated by Dr. Brownlee and Melissa Messina, curator of the Mildred Thompson Estate, is the artist’s first large-scale, interdisciplinary solo exhibition in the city.

Thompson (b. Jacksonville, 1936 – 2003), an American abstract artist, spent much of her early career in Germany and France in response to the racial and gender discrimination she experienced in the United States.

In 1986, she accepted an invitation to be an artist-in-residence at Spelman. She spent the remainder of her life in Atlanta where her painting, sculpture, drawing, printmaking, writing and musical explorations expanded into the dynamic oeuvre for which she is now becoming acclaimed.

“The Spelman College Museum of Fine Art is a remarkable and unique resource for the cultivation, exploration and celebration of art by Black women,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., president of Spelman. “We are thrilled and deeply grateful for the opportunity to present the work of Mildred Thompson and Theaster Gates to visiting scholars, students, faculty and the arts community-at-large.”

The 2019 – 2020 exhibition season will culminate with “Theaster Gates: The Black Image Corporation,” on view Tuesday, January 28, through Saturday, May 16, 2020. “Theaster Gates: The Black Image Corporation”explores the legacy of the Johnson Publishing Company archive. Curated by artist Theaster Gates (b. Chicago, 1973), the exhibition features images by Moneta Sleet Jr. and Isaac Sutton, who were both photographers for the renowned Johnson Publishing Company, the media entity responsible for publishing Ebony and Jet Magazines. Gates reimagined and redeployed never-before-seen images of women from the company’s rich collection.

In this participatory exhibition, visitors will be encouraged to freely handle this extensive visual archive and invited to engage directly with these rich and varied representations depicting Black women in their everyday lives, historical moments and studio settings.

The Museum’s 2019 – 2020 exhibition season is made possible by the Wish Foundation and the LUBO Fund. Additional support provided by the Massey Charitable Trust.

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