Willie Cole

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Primarily a sculptor, Willie Cole draws his subjects from personal iconography: in his past work irons recalled African tribal markings and shields, ironing boards represented slave ships, and numerous images are drawn from a history of domestic labor and other personal references.

"Finding beauty in the commonplace — some may even say banal — is one of artist Willie Cole’s strengths. His ability to rejigger the consumer world around us into something more fantastic creates the illusion that his art springs from the mystical intersection of folk culture, utility, design, contemporary art, and mythology." – Hrag Vartanian, HYPERALLERGIC

Selected Exhibitions


Alexander and Bonin, New York, NY

Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA


College of Architecture and Design Gallery, The New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, NJ

Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN


David C. Driskell Center, University of Maryland, College Park, MD

Museum of Art, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH

Arthur Ross Gallery, Philadelphia, PA


808 Gallery, Boston University, Boston, MA

Mazmanian Gallery, Framingham State University, Framingham, MA

The Diggs Gallery of Winston-Salem State University, Winston-Salem, NC


Albertine Monroe-Brown Gallery, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI

Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC


Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY


James Gallery, Graduate Center of the City University, New York, NY

Memphis Brooks Museum of the Art, Memphis, TN

Sarah Moody Gallery of Art, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL

Rowan University Art Gallery, Glassboro, NJ


Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, NJ

University of Wyoming Museum, Laramie, WY


Tampa Museum of Arts, Tampa, FL


Miami Art Museum, Miami, FL

Bronx Museum of the Arts, The Bronx, NY


Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY


The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY

MCA Chicago, Chicago, IL

The National Gallery of Art

The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA

Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN

Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, MN