Now on View


Posing Beauty in African American Culture

through December 7, 2013

Posing Beauty explores the ways contemporary understandings of beauty have been informed by the works of photographers and artists dating from 1890 to the present. It prompts rich discussions about the contested ways that African American beauty has been represented in historical and contemporary contexts. Learn more about what compelled Dr. Deborah Willis to curate this nationally touring exhibition.

Posing Beauty from Spelman Museum on Vimeo.

Posing Beauty in African American Culture is curated by Deborah Willis and organized by Curatorial Assistance Traveling Exhibitions, Pasadena, California. The Museum acknowledges support from:

Upcoming Programs

BLACK BOX: Danielle Deadwyler, (dis)possessed: the live mixtape
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
6:30 p.m.

Channeling the funk of Southern musical pioneers like Outkast and Joi, (dis)possessed is a stream of consciousness mixtape listening party. Danielle Deadwyler, multi-disciplinary artist and Creative Loafing's 2013 Best Actress uses music, movement, sonic play, video installation, and lyrical monologues address the presentation of the black female body in popular culture through the voices of three female characters – an Emcee, a youthful girl, and a wayward streetwalker.

This production contains strong language and content that may not be appropriate for all audiences.

Community Conversations
Join us on the following Tuesdays at 11:00 a.m. as various artists, Friends, and Spelman College students and staff connect their passion and interests to the works of art on view in Posing Beauty in African American Culture.

November 12, 2013
Cynae Tarver, Instructional Technologist, Spelman College
The Many Faces of a Woman

Cynae Tarver sees women as "multi-tasking chameleons that express themselves in a number of colorful ways to several different audiences." From the boardroom and the bedroom to the sports arena and kitchen, Cynae will explore how a woman's beauty is reflected in each of her leading roles in a dynamic performance monologue.

November 19, 2013
Jihna Lang, Manager of Donor Events, Spelman College
My Beauty is ??: The Miseducation of Beautiful

The images of Jet Magazine’s Beauty of the Week serve as a catalyst to ask the question “Will my beauty ever be pretty enough?” This candid conversation led by Jihan Lang will explore the stigma of separatism and elitism embodied within our community and its negative consequences on the African American female psyche.

December 3, 2013
Harold Pride, Finance Manager + Music Enthusiast
Sonic Visuals: Exploring Posing Beauty's Musical Connection Through The Eyes

Eyes have been described as the windows to one’s soul and an indicator of joy, pain, and the truth. Join Harold Pride and several guest artists for a musical discussion on the stories known and imaged through the eyes of select subjects in Posing Beauty.

Click here to see the entire list of upcoming Community Conversations.

Past Programs: Thank You!

Thank you for supporting the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art by attending our previous programs and special events. We've enjoyed lively evenings filled with viewings of Posing Beauty in African American Culture and special performances, lectures, music, food, and drinks.

We've posted several photo albums on our Facebook Page. Find and/or tag yourselves in the photos from Deborah Willis’ lecture on October 17 and The This is Beauty Homecoming Reception on October 25!


In celebration of Posing Beauty in African American Culture the Museum, in partnership with U Salon, launched a campaign to find out what beautiful things people encounter in their daily lives. Join the conversation and post the beautiful things that you encounter on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using #thisisbeauty. Photographs posted by @donnalampkinatl, @Olive_ewe, and @dawnavette have caught our attention.

Stay Connected

The Museum’s express mission is to expand knowledge about and access to art by and about women of the African Diaspora. Learn more about this unique museum, the Object of the Month, and more at museum.spelman.edu For timely updates and advance notice about Posing Beauty in African American Culture, programs, and upcoming exhibitions, follow the Museum on Facebook at facebook.com/spelmanmuseum and on Twitter at twitter.com/spelmanmuseum.

Support the Museum

As the Museum prepares to offer special opportunities and organize original exhibitions and related programs, it is appealing to Friends—both old and new—for support. As you consider your year-end contributions, please consider making a tax deductable gift to the Museum. Every gift, no matter the amount, is meaningful. Your support helps us realize and fulfill our unique mission as the only museum in the nation that emphasizes art by and about women of the African Diaspora.

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Waitress at the Crawford Grill, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, c.1952, Gelatin silver print, 16 x 20 inches, © 2004 Carnegie Museum of Art, Charles “Teenie” Harris Archive


Tuesdays - Fridays
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Noon – 4:00 p.m.

Sunday, Monday, holidays, summers, and official Spelman College breaks 

Suggested donation | $3.00


Copyright © 2013 Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, All rights reserved.