A new exhibition has opened at the Taubman Museum of Art, but the artist’s medium isn’t paints or pastels.
Her medium is hair.
“Everybody grows hair, but it’s one of those things that either can pull us apart or bring us together,” said artist Sonya Clark.
Clark has done hundreds of exhibitions at museums all over the world. For her new show at the Taubman, “Follicular: The Hair Stories of Sonya Clark,” Clark collaborated with a dozen hair stylists.
Clark gave each stylist a canvas stitched with silk thread to design a new hairstyle with darker thread, she explained. Then, each hairdresser recreated their styles using Clark’s hair, she added.
“What I did was just come up with a premise that if hairdressing and textile arts are similar to one another, then a hairdresser should be able to handle a textile art project without any problem,” Clark said. “And indeed, there was no problem.”
“She’s using those hair and combs to talk about how hair and texture unites us but also divides us as a community,” said Amy Moorefield, deputy director of exhibitions and collections for the Taubman Museum of Art.
Sonya Clark’s discussion at the museum Friday night celebrates the opening of four new exhibitions, Moorefield said. These kinds of exhibitions help bring visitors to the museum, she added.
“Our museum and our exhibition program reflects who we are as a community, so we want it to be diverse and robust,” Moorefield said.
Sonya Clark’s exhibition runs through May 14, Moorefield said.
Sonya Clark will also run a show at the Taubman Museum of Art on Saturday. A hairdresser will do Clark’s hair in a different style as Clark translates a poem from a font she created of shapes of hair pieces, Moorefield said. The show runs from 1 to 3 p.m. and is free, she added.