District News

Sonya Clark Creates Communal Collaboration at MAD’s New Exhibit

Mar 19, 2024
Sonya Clark Creates Communal Collaboration at MAD’s New Exhibit

Exiting the elevator on the third floor of the Museum of Arts and Design (2 Columbus Circle between 8th Ave and Broadway) and turning left, visitors are met with the soft clinking of glass. The tinkling comes from Chorus of One by Anna Mlasowsky, a cloak made of white glass ceramic plates tied together, displayed alongside a choreographed video of the cloak being worn. It is one of 60 objects within Craft Front & Center, the museum’s free permanent collection that includes a range of pieces made out of everyday materials. On March 23, 2024, the museum will open a new rotating exhibit that also features everyday objects and materials—Sonya Clark: We are Each Other.

Artist Sonya Clark, a professor of art and humanities at Amherst College, was born in Washington, DC to parents from Trinidad and Jamaica. The exhibition highlights thirty years of her communal art-making projects. According to MAD, her art “encourages audiences to confront through material transformation the country’s historical imbalances and racial injustices” and also “celebrates the complexities of the Black cultural experience.”

The exhibit, which is nearing its final show after having been featured in partnering institutions (the Cranbrook Art Museum in Metro Detroit and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta), will include five works, among them Monumental Cloth Series (2019), “artworks and activations based on the historic repurposed dish towel used to signal a truce by Confederate forces at Appomattox in 1865”, and The Hair Craft Project (2014), “a series of photographs and braided hair designs highlighting hair stylists’ ability to manipulate the hairs on Clark’s head and their undeniable textile artistry on canvases stitched with thread.”

The exhibition, which costs $20 for adults and $14 for students to view, will remain at MAD through September 22, 2024. Those who are blind or visually impaired can experience the exhibition via a verbal description tour on Monday, April 8, at 3:00pm (register here). On May 2 at 6:00pm, MAD will host a conversation between Lowery Stokes Sims, historian and curator emerita at MAD, and the artist herself. Tickets for the general public are $20, and member tickets are $15 (learn more or purchase tickets here).

The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00am to 6:00pm.

Image:  Sonya Clark, "The Hair Craft Project: Hairstylists with Sonya" (2014). Photos: Naoko Wowsugi