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News About "Alma W. Thomas: Everything Is Beautiful"

Renowned artist Alma W. Thomas’ (1891-1978) artistic journey took her from Columbus, Georgia, to international acclaim. The traveling exhibition Alma W. Thomas: Everything Is Beautiful offers a comprehensive overview of her extraordinary career with more than 150 objects, including late-career paintings that have never before been exhibited or published.

Frist Art Museum executive director and co-curator of the Alma W. Thomas: Everything Is Beautiful exhibition, Dr. Seth Feman, discusses one of his favorite pieces from the show and gives us a closer look at Alma's subtle, yet dynamic brushwork.

“Beauty will save the world.” Dostoevsky expresses this artist statement through the words of the fictional character, Prince Myshkin- the titular character of The Idiot, published in the late 1860s. Myshkin was, in some ways, a stand-in for what Dostoevsky might consider the best version of himself, a “positively good and beautiful man.” The prince was not what Dostoevsky claimed to be but possibly what he aspired to become.

It was a 19th-century song that piqued Day Al-Mohamed’s interest in a little-known group of Union soldiers in the U.S. Civil War. It was not a celebratory song.

Alma W. Thomas: Everything Is Beautiful provides a fresh perspective on the artist’s long, dynamic life (1891–1978) and multifaceted career that was defined by constant creativity. This major retrospective traces her journey from semirural Georgia to Washington, DC, to becoming the first Black woman to have a solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York when she was eighty in 1972.

“Alma W. Thomas: Everything Is Beautiful,” on view at the Frist through June 5, is a welcome balm to our weary souls. And this is no accident. Thomas was a revolutionary artist and educator who cultivated beauty and creativity in all aspects of her long life. And she was dedicated to bringing that same energy into the lives of others, as well.

Billionaire Jeff Bezos rocketed into outer space this summer, which ignited conversations about the usefulness of space exploration. Bezos’s space tourism is an ego-driven display of wealth and privilege that did not benefit anyone. However, through sheer imagination, Alma Thomas fantasized about space exploration as a metaphor for Black liberation.

Stephanie Bedell, the Suffolk Public Library collection strategist senior librarian, accepts the Suffolk Art League’s 2022 book donation of the Alma W. Thomas: Everything is Beautiful catalog.

When Alma Thomas (1891–1978) was just fifteen years old, she moved with her family from the Jim Crow South to Washington D.C., where she cultivated a life as an artist and educator. A traveling retrospective exhibition, “Alma W. Thomas: Everything Is Beautiful,” is touring the country, revealing the striking evolution of Thomas’s work throughout her career. The show was put together by cocurators Jonathan Frederick Walz, Director of Curatorial Affairs and Curator of American Art at The Columbus Museum (Columbus, Georgia), and Seth Feman, Deputy Director for Art & Interpretation and Curator of Photography at Norfolk’s Chrysler Museum of Art.

NASHVILLE, TENN.- The Frist Art Museum presents Alma W. Thomas: Everything Is Beautiful, a comprehensive overview of the artist’s long, dynamic life (1891–1978) and multifaceted career that was defined by constant creativity.

Following from its commitment to reflect the communities of the Chattahoochee Valley, The Columbus Museum continues to augment its holdings of works by African American artists. The Museum’s recent Alma Thomas Society Annual Purchase Party resulted in the acquisition of two new works to its permanent collection.

Presented by Seth Feman (Deputy Director for Art and Interpretation and Curator of Photography at Chrysler Museum of Art) and Jonathan Frederick Walz (Director of Curatorial Affairs and Curator of American Art at The Columbus Museum), learn more about the Frist Art Museum’s Everything is Beautiful exhibit in this virtual program. Jonathan presents on Alma W. Thomas’ marionettes and Seth shares more about her teaching practice.

It’s only fitting that a retrospective of Alma Thomas’s art be named “Everything Is Beautiful.” The more than 170-work exhibition charts Thomas’s career from her understated still lifes to her kaleidoscopic abstractions, underlining the beauty she saw in the material world and imagined in a cosmic one.

Abstract Expressionism was a movement dominated by male artists. Painters such as Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning have held centre stage as the stars of the movement, leaving many female abstract expressionists in their shadows – their work overlooked and underappreciated. One of these artists is Alma Thomas, a painter, educator and the first African American woman to have a solo exhibition of her work in the Whitney Museum of Art.

A remarkable run for the Phillips Collection — or for any museum in the nation’s capital — is coming to a close. The modern art museum celebrated its 100th anniversary last year, and while the pandemic prevented a proper birthday bash, it finished the year with a bang.
With two stellar retrospectives, one time-based installation, and several commissions by local artists, the Phillips Collection has dedicated its galleries over the past few months to highlighting abstract work by Black artists. This is unlike anything else the museum has done in at least the last two decades.

Trained in New York as a painter and printmaker, Jacob Kainen moved to Washington in 1942 for a curatorial job at the Smithsonian. Kainen likely met Alma Thomas at the Barnett Aden Gallery in the mid-1940s, where they would both exhibit and where she worked as vice president. In 1957, Kainen taught Thomas during her last semester at American University. A strong supporter of her art, he became a mentor and offered art critiques at her home.

Alma W. Thomas: Everything Is Beautiful demonstrates that Thomas’s imagination and ingenuity were well developed long before her retirement in 1960, and that her creativity extended far beyond the studio to encompass design, teaching, service, and gardening, among other activities.

Exhibition curators Seth Feman and Jonathan Walz discuss how they used a wide range of artworks and archival materials from the Archives of American Art and The Columbus Museum, Georgia, to uncover new information and offer new insight into Thomas’s life and art. They share specific research findings culled from Thomas’s personal papers that helped shape the narrative of this exhibition.

In our annual Winter Arts Guide, we ask some of the city’s top artists what they’re most looking forward to. Plus, our critics assess the state of Nashville’s art scene and point toward the best art, theater, dance, film and literary events of the season. Check it out below.

NASHVILLE, Jan. 11, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The Frist Art Museum presents Alma W. Thomas: Everything Is Beautiful, a comprehensive overview of the artist's long, dynamic life (1891–1978) and multifaceted career that was defined by constant creativity. Featuring more than 150 works, including her joyful and colorful abstract paintings and many objects that have never been exhibited or published before, the exhibition demonstrates how Thomas's artistic practices extended to every aspect of her life—from community service and teaching to gardening and dress.

There are 20 must-see museum exhibitions focusing on African-American art happening this winter that we want you to know about. The exhibits are occurring throughout the country and range from major career retrospectives to historical surveys to contemporary art. Some of the exhibits are already on view, while others are opening soon, so be sure to check the dates.

After June 2020, almost every institution made a declaration that they would implement changes to become more inclusive. Their promises posed an interesting question: What would happen if museums made a priority of showing works by more artists of color and addressing art history’s lacunae? In other words, would what it look like for museums to do what they were supposed to be doing all along?

America’s first museum dedicated to modern art, The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., continues to fulfill founder Duncan Phillips’s vision in 1921 for “an intimate museum combined with an experiment station.”

The Frist Art Museum presents Alma W. Thomas: Everything Is Beautiful, a comprehensive overview of the artist's long, dynamic life (1891-1978) and multifaceted career that was defined by constant creativity.

The Frist Art Museum presents Alma W. Thomas: Everything Is Beautiful, a comprehensive overview of the artist’s long, dynamic life (1891–1978) and multifaceted career that was defined by constant creativity. Featuring more than 150 works, including her joyful and colorful abstract paintings and many objects that have never been exhibited or published before, the exhibition demonstrates how Thomas’s artistic practices extended to every aspect of her life—from community service and teaching to gardening and dress. Co-organized by the Chrysler Museum of Art and The Columbus Museum, Georgia, Everything Is Beautiful will be on view in the Frist’s Upper-Level Galleries from February 25 through June 5, 2022.

Artist Alma Thomas was the first Black woman to have a solo exhibition at New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art in 1972 – but long before that, she was a middle school teacher in D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood. A stunning retrospective of her work is currently on exhibit at the Phillips Collection, a short walk away from where she lived in Logan Circle. Alma Thomas: Everything Is Beautiful charts her artistic evolution and her relationship with the District.


News About Alma W. Thomas