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Carol Thompson

Carol Thompson
Fred and Rita Richman Curator of African Art

Since joining the High Museum of Art in 2001 as the inaugural Fred and Rita Richman Curator of African Art, Carol Thompson has significantly grown the Museum’s African art collection and curated numerous exhibitions, including Radcliffe Bailey: Memory as Medicine, which toured nationally with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Fred and Rita Richman Gallery of African art has been cited as one of the top ten places to see African art in the United States. Thompson’s publications include African Art Portfolio, An Illustrated Introduction, For This World and Beyond, contributions to A History of the Decorative, Applied Arts, and Design, 1400–2000, and essays on the art of David Hammons and Wangechi Mutu. Thompson has traveled extensively in Africa, particularly in Burkina Faso, and has taught at New York University, Vassar College, and other institutions. From 1987 to 1996, she served as Associate Curator and Curator for Education at the Museum for African Art in New York. Thompson earned 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).


“Book Review: Postcolonial Modernism: Art and Decolonization in Twentieth-Century Nigeria, by Okeke-Agulu, Chika. Duke University Press, 2015,” Art Papers, Sept./Oct. 2015: p. 54.

Contributed four chapters on Africa (with co-author Enid Schildkrout) to History of Design, Decorative Arts, and Material Culture, 1400-2000 edited by Pat Kirkham and Susan Weber. New York: Bard Graduate Center and Yale University, 2013.  The four chapters include: I/1400-1600, II/1600-1750, III/1750-1900, and IV/1900-2000.

“On Untitled, 1996, by David Hammons,” pp. 7-17 in 2012 Biennale: Bernard de Grunne, Paris.

Contributor to Wangechi Mutu: this you call civilization?, edited by David Moos with essays by David Moos, Odili Donald Odita, Rinaldo Walcott, Raphael Rubinstein, Jennifer González, and Michelle Jacques, and including an interview with the artist, Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario, 2010.

Co-authored with Ugochukwu-Smooth Nzewi, “Embodying the Sacred in Yoruba Art featuring the Bernard and Patricia Wagner Collection: A Case Study in Museum Practice,” African Arts, Los Angeles: UCLA, 2009.

“A Peripatetic Gallery of Playful, Provocative Portraits: The Art of Susan Cofer, Atlanta’s Very Own Florine Stettheimer,” in Learning to Love the Species: Susan Seydel Cofer, The University of Georgia, Lamar Dodd  School of Art, Broad Street Gallery, April 8 – May 16, 2008, Circle B Press.

“New Acquisitions: High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia,” African Arts. Autumn 2003, XXXVI, no. 3, pp.  66-75.

Slaves to Sculpture,” The Drama Review 44/3 (T167). Fall, 2000.

Catalogue commentary for Cheri Samba’s Condemnation without Judgment in Refining the Imagination: Tradition, Collecting, and the Vassar Education. Poughkeepsie: The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, 1999.

African art editorial consultant for 1999 edition of Art in Focus, an art history textbook for high school students, published by Glencoe McGraw-Hill, 1999. Revised and rewrote chapter on African art.

Manuscript editor of the English translation of The Second Face: African Masks by Hahner-Herzpg, Iris, et al. Munich: Prestel, 1998.

The Empire of Mali in African Civilization Series. New York: Rosen Publishing, 1998.

The Asante Kingdom in African Civilization Series. New York: Rosen Publishing, 1998.

Animals in African Art: From the Familiar to the Marvelous (Catalog section). New York: Museum for African Art, 1995.

African Art Portfolio: An Illustrated Introduction, Masterpieces from the Eleventh to the Twentieth Century. New York: The New Press and The Museum for African Art, 1993.

Gallery Exhibition Review. “Woman Eternal: The Female Image in African Art,” African Arts, Summer, 1992.