Paula Wilson at the CAAM May 22 – August 18, 2024

Paula Wilson: Toward the Sky’s Back Door

May 22 – August 18, 2024

curated by: Rebecca McNamara, Associate Curator, Tang Museum and Art Gallery


Paula Wilson: Toward the Sky’s Back Door presents nearly two decades of Paula Wilson’s paintings, sculptures, prints, collages, and videos, with different media frequently intermixed in a single work. Breaking down perceived boundaries to connect global and local narratives, the work explores subjects as wide-ranging as the moth that pollinates Yucca plants, ancient Greek vases, West African D’mba, and modern technologies. Using the same techniques and styles to make art for viewing on the gallery wall as for the rugs she walks on and clothes she wears, Wilson challenges the separations between art and everyday living. Often biographically oriented, her work investigates the polarities of human life, including her own identity as a Black biracial artist and her experiences living in both major metropolises and the small desert railroad town of Carrizozo, New Mexico.

Wilson’s work has been exhibited throughout the United States and internationally and is in the permanent collections of The Studio Museum in Harlem, the Albuquerque Museum, the New York Public Library, The Fabric Workshop and Museum, the Yale University Art Gallery, and the Tang Teaching Museum, among others. Born in Chicago, Wilson earned her BFA from Washington University in St. Louis and her MFA from Columbia University in New York. She is the co-founder of the artist-run organizations Carrizozo Artist-in-Residency and MoMAZoZo.

The exhibition title comes from a poem by Robin Coste Lewis, “Let Me Live in a House by the Side of the Road and Be a Friend to Man.”

Visit by Appointment

Due to COVID-19, we are open by appointment. The gallery will follow social distancing protocol and allow only a certain number of visitors per appointment.