Clark Atlanta University Art Museum Opens Fall 2019 Exhibitions


ATLANTA, GA -- September 6, 2019 –– Clark Atlanta University Art Museum’s Fall 2019 exhibitions, “Crafting for Life,” “The Sense of Something Universal,” and “Guy Gabon: Soleil de la Conscience/Sun of Consciousness,” open on Sunday, September 15. Enjoy a free reception from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

“Crafting for Life” features works from the permanent collection that illustrate the overlap among decorative art, craft design, and industry. The rarely shown objects include quilts, handwoven sweetgrass baskets from the Carolinas, and an intricately designed granary door from Mali. The show aims to encourage consideration of the virtuosity of these artisans. It also seeks to disrupt the notion that craft is “low art” that requires technical skill but neither exceptional ability nor innovation. Dr. Maurita N. Poole, director and curator, said, “This exhibition offers an opportunity to see works from the university’s permanent collection that are rarely shown but that are invaluable for expanding our understanding of African American aesthetic traditions and expressive cultures on the continent as well as in the diaspora.”

Clark Atlanta University Art Museum will also present two exhibitions on the artist John Woodrow Wilson (1922-2015). The first titled “The Sense of Something Universal” includes twenty paintings and prints from the museum’s permanent collection. It draws attention to the range of Wilson’s expression, particularly during the forties and fifties, and is intended to complement the traveling Yale University Art Gallery show “Reckoning with ‘The Incident’: John Wilson’s Studies for a Lynching Mural,” which will open at CAUAM on October 6th. The Yale University Art Gallery (YUAG) exhibition was organized by Pamela Franks, Class of 1956 Director, Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, Massachusetts, and Elisabeth Hodermarsky, the Sutphin Family Senior Associate Curator of Prints and Drawings. The YUAG show brings together publicly for the first time nearly all of Wilson’s known preparatory sketches and painted studies for his mural that was painted at La Esmeralda, Mexico’s national school of art. “It seemed important to utilize the strength of CAU’s collection to give our audiences a broad view of Wilson as an artist before they see the powerful exhibition about his lynching mural ‘The Incident.’ I hope that “The Sense of Something Universal” will whet their appetite for the incoming traveling exhibition,” said Dr. Poole.

The final exhibition “Guy Gabon: Soleil de la Conscience/Sun of Consciousness” is a part of the Black Optics Artist Residency, a new initiative for emerging and established artists of the African Diaspora developed to place artists in dialogue with the Carte Blanche program at Musée Schoelcher. The artist-in-residence is expected to create a new work that is connected to either CAUAM's history or permanent collection. Because of Musée Schoelcher’s concern with developing programming that sheds light on the abolitionist Victor Schoelcher’s personal biography as well as France’s fraught relationship with the history of slavery and colonization, it is an ideal partner for Clark Atlanta University Art Museum.

 “Soleil de la Conscience, or Sun of Consciousness” is borrowed from a book by Martinican poet Edouard Glissant.  Gabon’s project shares with this specific Glissant work a sustained reflection on the rootlessness and alienation that potentially ensues when people do not have an accurate sense of their history. Gabon’s work, which is entitled Mary Prince, is an indirect meditation on the life of Mary Prince, a woman from Bermuda whose narrative of her enslavement is one of the most well-known accounts from the Caribbean.

The first artist to participate in this burgeoning exchange will be Guadeloupean artist Guy Gabon, an artist who participated in “Carte Blanche” at Musée Schoelcher’s s in 2015. Gabon is an eco-artist, designer, and filmmaker whose work explores the interrelationship between the natural and urban environment. Her documentary film and mixed media experiments draw attention to the imbalances created by consumer society. Her public commissions, including the project From Waste to (Re) Design, involve transforming urban waste into aesthetic forms.  In 2013, she founded La Ressourcerie des Arts to increase awareness about environmental and sociopolitical issues. She has participated in artist residencies in Canada, France, the United States, and various African countries including Madagascar, Mozambique, and South Africa.   

To learn more, please contact Diamond Mason at 404-880-6102 or, or visit


About Clark Atlanta University Art Museum

Clark Atlanta University Art Museum provides a range of aesthetic and educational experiences for the Clark Atlanta University community and the general public. In serving both the academic goals of the institution and public interests, the museum disseminates knowledge about and stimulates interest in African and African Diaspora art via special exhibitions, programs, and publications developed in-house and in cooperation with other museums and cultural institutions. The exhibitions and related programs are specifically designed to enhance the development of these communities through the collection, preservation, exhibition and interpretation of works of fine art that engage with key art movements and intellectual currents of the 20th and 21st centuries.  

The museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 11am to 4pm as well as by appointment.

About Clark Atlanta University 

Clark Atlanta University (CAU) is a leading research institution of higher education, offering 38 exciting areas of study at bachelor’s, master’s, specialists, and doctoral levels.  Established in 1988 by the historic consolidation of Atlanta University (1865) and Clark College (1869), CAU continues a 150-year legacy rooted in the African-American tradition and focused on the future. Through global innovation, transformative educational experiences, and high-value engagement, CAU cultivates lifted lives that transform the world.

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