The exhibition “Everything Is Beautiful,” on view at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk Virginia, explores the incredible creativity and range of African American artist Alma Thomas over the course of her life and career. Known for her distinctive abstract paintings created during the 1960s and 70s, this retrospective brings together more than 150 objects including marionettes, home furnishings, and student work that “demonstrate how Thomas’ artistic practices extended to every facet of her life, from community service and teaching to gardening and dress.” The exhibition is a collaboration between the Columbus Museum and the Chrysler Museum of Art and draws on important works from each of their respective collections.
A long overdue retrospective for the late artist Alma Thomas has touched down at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virginia.
The exhibition, titled “Everything Is Beautiful,” showcases little known aspects of the artist’s life and career, such as her interests in gardening and fashion, and her early student works. It was co-organized with the Columbus Museum in the artist’s hometown of Columbus, Georgia.
“One of the goals of the show has been to have a Columbus-originated story,” Jonathan Frederick Walz, the Columbus Museum’s curator of American art, told Artnet News. “There seems to be this received wisdom that Thomas only became an artist after she stopped teaching in the classroom in 1960, but the material that we had at the museum made us realize that, in fact, she had been making art all along.”
“Her late abstractions kind of end up standing for her entire career,” Walz added. “Our project with this show is to show that Thomas was multifaceted.”