Sonya Clark: Tatter, Bristle, and Mend

“The artist unraveling American history”
The New York Times

Buy tickets now to see Sonya Clark: Tatter, Bristle, and Mend, featuring 100 works of art that address race and visibility, explore Blackness, and redress history.

Textile and social practice artist Sonya Clark (b. 1967) is renowned for her mixed-media works, including sculptures made from black pocket combs, human hair, and thread as well as works created from flags, currency, beads, cotton plants, pencils, books, a typewriter, and a hair salon chair. The artist applies a vast range of fiber-art techniques: she weaves, stitches, folds, braids, dyes, pulls, twists, presses, snips, or ties within each object.

The first survey of Clark’s 25-year career, Tatter, Bristle and Mend includes early beaded and stitched pieces along with more recent forays into mediums such as sugar and neon. The exhibition focuses on central themes—heritage, labor, language, and visibility—and emphasizes Clark’s astute ability to rework concepts and materials over time, pulling apart threads of ideas and mending them back together to create new layers of meaning. By stitching black thread cornrows and Bantu knots onto fabrics, rolling hair into necklaces, and stringing a violin bow with a dreadlock, Clark manifests ancestral bonds and reasserts the Black presence in histories from which it has been pointedly omitted. Visit the exhibition to see these works, exhibited together for the first time.

The Coby Foundation, Ltd. logo

Sonya Clark: Tatter, Bristle, and Mend is organized by the National Museum of Women in the Arts. The exhibition is made possible by The Coby Foundation, Ltd., with additional funding provided by Share Fund, Clara M. Lovett, the Sue J. Henry and Carter G. Phillips Exhibition Fund, Stephanie Sale, and the Lenore G. Tawney Foundation.

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The exhibition catalogue features texts from an exciting group of prominent scholars and curators, including Nell Painter, distinguished historian, writer, and visual artist, in conversation with Sonya Clark.

Online Exhibition

Two medium-dark skinned adult women stand in front of a goldenrod background. The woman on the left faces the viewer and wears a teal head wrap and a red top. The woman on the right faces away from the viewer, showcasing her dark hair braided into an elaborate pattern with colorful beads.
Can’t visit in person? Explore this online exhibition delving into the exhibition themes and highlighting the detailed artwork.