Fall Exhibitions

The Malinda Jolley Mortin Gallery


A Group Exhibition celebrating the work of five Afro-Caribbean Artists: Josué Azor, Firelei Báez, María Magdalena Campos-Pons, David Antonio Cruz, and Didier William

August 29 – December 9, 2023

Curated by Cynthia Nourse Thompson

Dance performance by students of Professor Lisa Lock will take place at the ZMA: Saturday, December 9 from 4pm to 5pm


This exhibition and associated educational programming celebrate the powerful work of five Afro-Caribbean Diasporic artists and are central to the academic mission of the museum and university. Underflow, another term for the word undercurrent, serves to metaphorically suggest underlying themes of fluidity and struggle [power and control, diasporic experiences, perceived histories, sexuality] that lie just below the surface both visually and conceptually in the works presented, unifying them in compelling ways. Although mutual geography is shared among these artists, each uniquely addresses their own personal affiliations with place and memory as presented through figuration, abstraction, and realism. Moreover, a shared interest in the representation of the body and the contentious relations it introduces between subject and power positions viewers to consider their own perspectives— particularly when placed under the eye of a confrontational gaze. “It is my hope that introducing new regional audiences to these important contemporary artists will prompt valuable discussions regarding conceptions of history, cultural geography, race, gender, and identity.”-Cynthia Nourse Thompson, Curator

drowning man artwork

Image Credit: Didier William, Baptism: We Cannot Drown Nou Beni, 2022. Acrylic, ink, and wood carving on panel. Courtesy of Benjamin Blad.

Don Russell Clayton Gallery

rainbow houndstooth rug

Image Credit: Polly Apfelbaum, Rainbow Nirvana Houndstooth, 2013. Hand dyed handwoven wool, cotton. Courtesy of the artist and Frith Street Gallery, London. 


Polly Apfelbaum 

October 3 – December 9, 2023 

Curated by Cynthia Nourse Thompson 

Virtual lecture by Polly Apfelbaum: Thursday, November 9 at 7:00pm 

RSVP for Virtual Lecture

Dance performance by students of Professor Lisa Lock will take place at the ZMA: Saturday, December 9 from 4pm to 5pm 

Nirvana features large-scale installations of ceramics, prints, and textiles by artist Polly Apfelbaum. Best known for combining a variety of media with vibrant saturated colors and patterns to obscure the lines between painting, installation, sculpture, and everyday objects, Apfelbaum actively interrogates the boundaries between art, craft, and design. Rainbow Nirvana Houndstooth, a two-panel rug originally created for a group exhibition by the Dior fashion house at the Grand Palais in Paris, exemplifies this best. This work blends the French fashion house's signature houndstooth pattern with the artist’s own palette scheme, creating a monumental work that viewers are invited to directly become part of by standing upon it. In addition to recently created ceramic works, a suite of six woodblock prints titled Hudson River Valley Nirvana continues to play with an expanded spectrum of colors and complements the large-scale rug on view, marking the first time these works have been displayed together. Polly Apfelbaum will speak about her work and her artistic practice in a virtual lecture on Thursday, November 9 at 7pm. 
The work of Polly Apfelbaum is framed by wider political contexts and the legacy of post-war American art. She chooses materials, such as textiles and ceramics, that are usually found in the domestic realm, and emphasizes their essential qualities, especially color, and texture. In this way, Apfelbaum assumes a political and feminist position, challenging hierarchies in cultural practice. Polly Apfelbaum graduated from the Tyler School of Art, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. She has exhibited consistently since her first solo show 1986. Her work has recently been recognized with a Pew Center for Arts Grant, a Creative Capital Award, and the 2012 Rome Prize at the American Academy. She has also received a Joan Mitchell Grant, The Diebenkorn Fellowship, a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, an Anonymous Was a Woman Grant, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Recent solo exhibitions include: “Polly Apfelbaum” at Kunstmuseum Luzern, “For the Love of Una Hale” at Arcadia University, PA, “Waiting For the UFO's (a space between a landscape and a bunch of flowers)” at the Kemper Museum, Kansas City, and the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK; “Happiness Runs” at Belvedere 21, in Vienna, Austria; “Face Geometry,” OTIS College of Arts and Design, Los Angeles, CA; and “Deep Purple, Red Shoes,” Be-Part, Waregem, Belgium. She is represented in numerous collections including: the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY. 


Huge thank you to RugPadUSA for their generous rug pad donation to support this exhibition. “At RugPadUSA we are dedicated to providing the best quality rug pads that are designed to last.”

rugpad usa logo

Ruth V. Zuckerman Collection: Inside Out

Long-term display Location: Ruth Zuckerman Pavilion 

Curated by Teresa Bramlette Reeves

For the preservation of artwork, museums must often hold their permanent collections in storage rather than in public view. "Visible storage," maintains the necessary safe-keeping of the objects while allowing museum visitors to see and study work that would otherwise be unavailable. This installation employs visible storage to showcase a substantial number of Ruth Zuckerman's sculptures and drawings from the KSU Permanent Collection, while making aspects of a collection's care transparent for the public.

KSU ruth v. zuckerman inside out collection

Project Walls

wooden ceramic wreath art

Image Credit: Leandra Urrutia, Periphery, 2016, Chinese Stoneware and Wire. Courtesy of the artist

Project Wall North and West: Leandra Urrutia

In association with the ZMA exhibitions

August 29, 2023 – July 27, 2024

Virtual Artist Lecture: Thursday, February 29, 2024, 7pm

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The ZMA is pleased to present two newly commissioned works by artist Leandra Urrutia. Urrutia is an object maker and storyteller based in Corpus Christi, Texas. Borrowing parts of the human form, she makes powerful compositions and installations that showcase her wild and unconventional creative sense. Her studio work illustrates compelling female-centered struggles between body and mind, especially as one experiences injury, healing and the aging process. Her Mexican-American heritage, Catholic upbringing, interest in aggressive sports, and visits to China continue to bring an unorthodox influence to the ceramic and mixed media sculptures she dreams up. Leandra’s work has been exhibited locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. Her honors and awards include a McKnight Residency award from the Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, an ArtsMemphis Emmett O’Ryan Award for Artistic Inspiration, and a National Council for the Education of Ceramic Arts (NCECA) Emerging Artist award. Examples of her work can be found in the Lark Book Series 500 Figures in Clay and 500 Ceramic Sculptures. Leandra is a co-founding member of Studio Nong: An International Sculpture Collective and Residency Program that originated in Nanning, Guangxi Province, PRC. She also creates functional pottery and served as president of the Memphis Potters Guild in Memphis, Tennessee from 2019 to 2022. She taught ceramic sculpture, foundations, and a variety of other courses at the Memphis College of Art from 2002 until its closure in May 2020 and briefly served as faculty at Mississippi Valley State University from 2020 to 2022. Currently she serves on the faculty of Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi, Texas, teaching ceramics to undergraduate and graduate students.

Project Wall East: Ato Ribeiro

In association with the ZMA exhibitions

August 29, 2023 – July 27, 2024

Artist Lecture in -person: Wednesday, April 24, 2024, 12 pm

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The ZMA is pleased to present a newly commissioned work by artist Ato Ribeiro. Ribeiro is a multidisciplinary artist working in a variety of media including sculptural installation, drawing and printmaking. He was born in Philadelphia, PA and spent his formative years in Accra, Ghana. He is currently serving as a 2022/2023 MOCA GA WAP Fellow, and was recently a 2022 Atlanta Artadia Awardee and a MINT 2021 Leap Year Artist.  Ribeiro was the 2017 Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Emerging Artist Award recipient, Artist in Resident at Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin, Germany, and received Fellowships at Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT, The Studios at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA and the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture in Madison, ME among others. He earned his B.A. from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, and his M.F.A. in Print Media from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

wooden collage

Image credit: Ato Ribiero, Warrior King, 2021, Repurposed wood, wood glue. Courtesy of the artist.

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