Sunday, September 2, 2012

Cosmos .... A Star is Born!

Untitled painting by Gavin Jantjes

It's time for me to brag a little.

One of my sisters, Chris Mullen Kreamer, is a graduate of Indiana University with a PhD in African Art History and minors in Anthropology and African Studies.  She is also the Deputy Director and Chief Curator of the Smithsonian Institute's National Museum of African Arts, located on the National Mall in Washington, DC.  

National Museum of African Arts

Despite her demanding job and busy schedule, Chris is a regular at almost every Mullen family function, including the 2008 Mullen Family Reunion in Ballina.  If you were fortunate enough to meet her at that event, she probably didn't talk a lot about her work.  Like nuclear physics and brain surgery, her field is complex, specialized, and not easily discussed at a bar while drinking a Guinness.   

Chris at the 2008 Reunion in Ireland

Those of us close to Chris, though, have long been aware of her preeminence in the field and her reputation among colleagues.  But now, thanks to the August 31 edition of the New York Times, the entire world knows!  It contains a review of an exhibition organized by Chris that opened in June entitled "African Cosmos: Stellar Arts".  And I'm not talking about a teeny-weeny review buried deep within the paper;  I'm talking about a huge page-and-a-half article with full color photos that headlines the Weekend Arts section and is referenced on the front page of the whole damn paper!!  I nearly choked on my morning coffee when I saw it on Friday!

For those of you that missed it, an online version of that review can be found here.  Before reading it, though, click on the photo below to hear Chris describe the exhibition on PBS NewsHour (formerly The MacNeil/Lehrer Report) in her own words. 

Being interviewed on PBS NewsHour

What Chris doesn't say in this interview is that the entire exhibition was her brainchild, that its content is totally original, and that it took almost ten years to bring it to fruition!  That type of modesty is typical of Chris.  With that as a backdrop, go back and read the NY Times article.   I'll wait .....

Fantastic article, wasn't it?  I particularly liked the closing paragraph:
"Ms. Kreamer is certainly busy; she seems to have been given a free hand in helping to determine where the museum is going and how it’s going to get there. Judging by her recent work the directions will be manifold and pursued with imagination and passion. At the end of the day the future of a museum that once fell short is now looking up."
Two other things to check out:
  1. A July 6 interview with Chris in the Washington Post that quoted Chris extensively and gave the exhibition some much-needed publicity.
  2. An online tour of the exhibition.  
If you live within traveling distance of Washington, DC (which, these days, means everyone), the Cosmos exhibition will be on display until December 9, 2012.  Needless to say, I highly recommend it.  

There's a new star in the Cosmos and this one's a Mullen!

Upper level view of the Cosmos exhibition



  2. wooo hooo! Great work Chris!!! Thanks for sharing Paul!
    - Kerriann Kada

  3. Fabulous exhibit, photos & article. Of course,I'm biased since Chris is my sister!!! Loved being at the opening & keep saving all the ongoing press releases. Great recognition for all of your love of African Art & your dedication.

  4. A Postscript: The COSMOS exhibit was recently featured in a recent episode of "All Things Considered" on National Public Radio (NPR). Click here to hear Chris interviewed by Allison Keyes.