Current Exhibitions




  • Darwyn Cooke, Batman/Joker/Robin, c. 2013, pen, ink, and watercolor on paper.

    The 9th Art: Frames and Thought Bubbles

    January 23 – May 8, 2021

    Location: Don Russell Clayton Gallery

    Virtual Tour

    The 9th Art: Frames and Thought Bubbles provides an encyclopedic overview of comic art, sharing examples of a wide variety of visual and narrative storytelling styles from panels in early newspapers to contemporary comic images. Original drawings and prints presented in this exhibition highlight the artistic skills of the master artists who defined the comic art form, as well as the contemporary artists who created some of the most famous and influential characters in our shared cultural experience. This special exhibition, curated by Geo Sipp, director of KSU's School of Art and Design and professor of Art, will feature a selection of American and Franco/Belgian comic book art on loan from collections and individual artists.

    The term “9th Art” acknowledges the reverence for which Franco-Belgian audiences regard comics in their culture. In France and Belgium, the term bande dessinée, which derives from the original description of the art form as drawn strips, analogous to the sequence of images in a film strip, have been given the honor of being referred to as the 9th art since the 1960s. French film critic Claude Beylie first used the term in an article he wrote for the magazine Lettres et Medecins in 1964. Expanding on German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s Lectures on Aesthetics, in which major art forms are ranked, comics and bande dessinée have followed film and television into the realm of Fine Art. As such, The ZMA is pleased to present this prominent and extensive selection of works at the Zuckerman Museum of Art that challenge the construct of traditional narrative storytelling.

    Darwyn Cooke, Batman/Joker/Robin, c. 2013, pen, ink, and watercolor on paper.



  • Photo of sculptural work by Ruth Zuckerman featured in the exhibition, Inside Out.

    Ruth V. Zuckerman Collection: Inside Out

    Now through May 9, 2021

    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 on public view. "Visible storage," maintains 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.


Special Projects 

  • Image of Greely Myatt's installation at the ZMA featuring "Untitled Pages (Hagar) and (Beetle Bailey) created in 2011 with Painted and polished steel and air, measuring 73 x 53 x 3" each. The two "pages" created by the artist are installed side by side on the wall. (Hagar) on the left features multiple steel frames of different sizes in 4 rows. All eight frames feature different sized thought bubbles. The thought bubbles come together to create an abstracted smiley face on the work on the left. (Beetle Bailey) on the right features ten different sized frames arranged into four rows. The motif in this untitled page consists of several small thought bubbles throughout and three larger thought bubbles that interact in multiple frames.

    The Project Wall Installation: Greely Myatt

    January 23 – August 1, 2021

    The ZMA presents three works by artist Greely Myatt to coincide with the exhibition on view in the Don Russell Clayton Gallery January 23 – May 9, 2021titled The 9th Art: Frames and Thought Bubbles. All works by Myatt, Untitled Pages (Hagar) and (Beetle Bailey) 2011 and Oh $#*t 2014, reinterpret the recognizable graphic conventions of the comic strip and speech bubble as a reimagined visual language. Myatt is prominently known for his monumental installations and amusing sculptural works which often incorporate found elements.

    Installation view of Greely Myatt's Untitled Page (Hagar) and Untitled Page (Beetle Bailey)  2011, Painted and polished steel and air, 73 x 53 x 3”, Courtesy of the artist and David Lusk Gallery, Memphis and Nashville. Photo by Mike Jensen. 
    • Greely Myatt was born and educated in Mississippi.  He currently lives and maintains a studio in West Memphis, Arkansas. Myatt recently retired from teaching sculpture at The University of Memphis for thirty-one years and he is now Professor Emeritus.  His works have been exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions across the United States, Europe and Japan.  He has received grants and fellowships from the Tennessee Arts Commission, Arkansas Arts Council, The University of Memphis, The University of Georgia, Alternate Roots in Atlanta, and the Mississippi Arts and Letters Visual Arts Award in 1994.  Myatt was an exchange artist to Israel in 1998. In 2009, work from twenty years of living and working in Memphis was exhibited across the city in nine separate venues.  His work has been reviewed in Art Papers, Number Magazine, Art in America, ArtNews, Sculpture Magazine, American Quilter, and in online versions of ArtForum and Juxtapoz Magazine. He is represented by Sandler Hudson Gallery in Atlanta and David Lusk Gallery in Memphis/Nashville.  



    • One print by Jonathan Beaumont Thomas titled "The Curtain", 8”x6” image, 14”x12” paper, intaglio, 2017. This print is number 7 in the Signs of the Times portfolio by the artist, on view at the museum.

      Jonathan Beaumont Thomas: Sign of the Times Portfolio

      In conjunction with the exhibition, The 9th Art: Frames and Thought Bubbles, the ZMA is thrilled to present a portfolio of intaglio prints by artist Jonathan Beaumont Thomas, titled Sign of the Times. 

      About the Portfolio: “When I imagined that on seeing his pictures I should get a clue to the understanding of his strange character I was mistaken. They merely increased the astonishment with which he filled me. I was more at sea than ever. The only thing that seemed clear to me - and perhaps even this was fanciful - was that he was passionately striving for liberation from some power that held him. But what the power was and what line the liberation would take remained obscure. Each one of us is alone in the world. He is shut in a tower of brass, and can communicate with his fellows only by signs, and the signs have no common value, so that their sense is vague and uncertain.”  

      -W. Somerset Maughan, The Moon and Sixpence, 1919, pg.133. 
      No one has written more beautifully about the inscrutability of images and their possession of people than W. Somerset Maughan. Even today, in the great ocean of digital images, his words from a century ago speak to the vast and deepening uncertainty that lies at the end of the swim.  
      I spend a great deal of time collecting and organizing pictures, images of all sorts, searching for signs, for relationships, for indicators of value. I'm intrigued by the intense specificity and simultaneous randomness of the whole enterprise. The best description of my artwork is to say it is squeezed out of this process, one small drop of juice from one large piece of fruit. I have long been interested in the role of images in worship, conflict over idolatry, and the relationship between iconoclasm and shifts in communicative media.  These interests lay the groundwork for a deliberate process of creating narratives that extricate themes embedded in the mass of images that I both consciously and subconsciously collect.  
      The nine etchings that comprise the Sign of the Times portfolio are structurally divided into quadrants. That idea came from comics and the goal of unfolding a story. Within each window I challenge myself to create a relationship between elements that yields a type of small truth concerning the picture’s inhabitants, and perhaps their relationship to the viewer.  Working in intaglio, at least for me, has always been such a battle of wills. It can be so uncompromising, scraping copper with steel. But what a thrill to work and maneuver the texture of a metal plate just enough to capture a creeping shadow against the wall, the cast of an oncoming storm or the glow of a candle lit room. It can also take a long time. And what does it mean to spend a long time making a picture of something so fleeting and inconsequential as a chaff of wheat shifting in the wind? 

      -Jonathan Beaumont Thomas

      Jonathan Beaumont Thomas,The Curtain, 8”x6” image, 14”x12” paper, intaglio, 2017. Courtesy of the artist. 
      • Jonathan Beaumont Thomas is currently the Interim Associate Dean of Design and Media at the Maryland Insititute College of Art, in Baltimore Maryland, where he was the Chair of the Printmaking Department from 2010-2020. Previously, he taught at the University of Miami in Miami, FL and Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana. Jonathan received his MFA from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and a BS in Biology from Wake Forest University. He has shown both nationally and internationally, including exhibitions at Trudi Gallery in Los Angeles, the Bas Fisher Invitational in Miami, Untitled in New York, and Carol Jazzar in Miami. He was an Artist-in-Residence at Anchor Graphics in Chicago, IL and the Plains Art Museum in Fargo, ND and was the recipient of the Florida Individual Fellowship Grant.



      • An image of the colorful yo-yo quilt by Atlanta artist Jess Jones on display at the ZMA. The work is created with small circular pieces of sewn fabric arranged in strips together. All the strips have been arranged for a beautiful warm color gradient from white to dark shades of reds, blues, and purples.

        Jess Jones: Weeping Quilt (Yo-yos)

        August 1, 2020 - August 1, 2021

        Jess Jones is a textile artist based out of Atlanta, GA. Over the past decade she has conceptually and materially experimented with found and re-used textiles through aesthetic, layered, and stitched compositions. Weeping Quilt (Yo-yos) is a newly commissioned, site-specific installation that engages both contemporary and historical ideas of craft, labor, and the re-use of found textiles. Because many of these quilting pieces were found in various states of completion by the artist, there is an aspect of finished and unfinished; of pulling together pieces that were abandoned or never finished by their makers. This work uses large volumes of undulating color made from small gathered circles of fabric. The individual circular pieces were commonly referred to by quilters as 'Yo-yos' in a quilting style that is associated with the 1920's, but still used by modern quilters. Her works presents the opportunity to discuss ideas about creative authorship, and what constitutes a finished work. Jones's work engages material culture through re-imagining what has been left behind, and tactile memory as a space for cultural and creative possibility in American art.

        Installation view of Jess Jones Weeping Quilt(Yo-yos), created in 2020. Image courtesy of the artist. Photo by Mike Jensen. 


        • Installation view of Robert Sherer's vinyl graphic at ZMA. Stronghold consists of several drawing of vinyls interlacing together. The vines are warm in color, shades of burnt orange, yellows, and rusty reds.

          Robert Sherer: Stronghold

          Stronghold is a site-specific installation by Georgia-based artist, Robert Sherer, created to be experienced by walking over the work. Sherer eloquently and urgently represents human experience primarily through the forms of drawing and painting. Throughout the past three decades of his art practice, the artist has experimented in material and process while navigating complex topics relating to the LGBTQ community and the HIV crisis. Stronghold was initially conceptualized in relation to his own memories about being bullied in childhood which is a topic that affects youth throughout our region. Sherer's work has often included autobiographical narratives while exploring ideas of experimental portraiture and alternative forms of history-sharing. This work represents cultural growth, suffering, engagement, and hope.

          Stronghold is a commissioned work in an effort to support living artists in the South-East.

          Installation view of Robert Sherer's Stronghold at Zuckerman Museum of Art. Photo by Shane McDonald. 
          • Installation view of Susan O'Malley's "It Is Possible" on the exterior of the ZMA.

            The Susan O'Malley Project

            August 1, 2020 - August 1, 2021

            The Susan O'Malley Project is a site specific installation featuring the work of artist Susan O’Malley. Her work explored generosity, positivity, and sincerity, and the profound possibility of listening as a kind of artistic practice. O’Malley was an artist and curator of Mexican-Irish descent whose work often interwove cultures and perspectives, engaging various aspects of production and dissemination throughout material culture. Her work appeared on fences, posts, and signs in areas that were being heavily gentrified. Throughout her practice, she met people in our society in their space as they were, as they are. Many of the works in this solo project are curated from a series titled Advice from My 80 Year-Old Self. In this series, O’Malley explored intergenerational knowledge sharing by asking members of the public what advice they would give their younger selves. O’Malley explored positivity and the human capacity for happiness, but she also explored profound loss and grief throughout her artistic career. All of her work was cohesive in its capacity for human connection across cultural space.


          More Exhibitions in the Fine Arts Gallery