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High African art curator to lecture at AMA

— Carol Thompson, the Fred and Rita Richman Curator of African Art at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, will lecture on “African Art: Then and There, Here and Now” at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Albany Museum of Art.

The Albany museum is home to a large collection of African art, started by Albany native Stella Davis. This collection is on display year-round in the Miller Gallery on the museum’s second floor. The display includes a wealth of art from across the African continent with works from Ethiopia to West Africa. The AMA also offers audio tours for this gallery.

“We are so excited to have someone of Dr. Thompson’s expertise and experience to shed light on these remarkable works,” said AMA Director Nick Nelson. “It is such an extraordinary opportunity to have her here in Albany.”

The free lecture is made possible through the Georgia Art Museum Partnership, a unique collaboration between six Georgia museums including the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the Telfair Museum of Art in Savannah, the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens, the Columbus Museum in Columbus, and the Albany Museum of Art.

Thompson was appointed the High’s first Fred and Rita Richman Curator of African Art in September 2001. Since her arrival at the High, she has curated “Embodying the Sacred in Yoruba Art” (2007), “African Gold from the Glassell Collection, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston” (2004), and “For this World and Beyond: African Art from the Fred and Rita Richman Collection” (2002).

From 1987 to 1996, Thompson was an integral member of The Museum of African Art in New York, working in various roles from associate curator to curator for education and curating exhibitions, such as “Animals in African Art: From the Familiar to the Marvelous” (1994) and “Outside Museum Walls: African Art from New York Private Collections” (1995).

Thompson has taught at New York University, Vassar College, City College in Harlem, Fashion Institute of Technology and other institutions. Thompson’s in-progress dissertation at New York University studies African art as performing objects across diverse contexts both within Africa and beyond. She received her M.A. in art history with a specialization in African Art from the University of Iowa (1988) and her B.A. in art history from Hamline University in Minnesota (1980). She is the author of “African Art Portfolio: Masterpieces from the 11th to the 20th Century” (1993) and “For this World and Beyond: African Art from the Fred and Rita Richman Collection” (2002). Thompson is a research fellow at the Center for Public Scholarship, Emory College.