Beauty Culture

Aesthetic Modernism unites the salon, spa, medical and museum communities – creating an innovative pathway to explore authentic self and achieve optimal wellness. At the Center for Aesthetic Modernism, we celebrate art, design, and architecture as vehicles for cultural enlightenment... openining our eyes to the amazing creative spirit of mankind from the ancient to the modern.

African Art, New York and The Avant-Garde

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY
Exhibit Dates: October 18, 2012 – March 31, 2013

In African Art, I find joy!  I recently made a special trip to visit the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art with my family during Spring Break.  On view was the exhibition, African Art, New York, and the Avant-Garde.  Curated by Yaelle Biro, the exhibition examined the circumstances under which African art arrived in New York and how it was appropriated by the American artistic avant-garde in the 1910s and 1920s. 

Well, here we are 100 years later.  How should we look upon and interpret African Art today?  Is there cause for re-examination with a fresh lens of perspective?  I say – Yes, indeed!  We are in desperate need of innovative approaches for healing and new ways for people to see themselves beautiful.  At the onset of the 21st century, there is a dynamic possibility to frame new functionality for African Art as a natural tool to adorn wellbeing. 
Dr. Monte Oyd Harris


Ahead of Hair - Sonya Clark

Contemporary Wing, 1412 14th Street, NW Washington, DC 20005
Exhibit Dates: February 1,  – March 2, 2013

Sonya Clark is definitely one of my favorite artists. I had the pleasure of chatting with Sonya at the opening reception of her solo exhibition - Ahead of Hair at Contemporary Wing on February 1st. We had a very animated conversation around the topic of hair and identity. Her work inspires one to think outside the box when it comes to the contentious relationship we often have with hair, particularly for African Americans. I'm glad that my daughter, Lindsay (a budding artist) was able to meet Sonya and hear her talk about how artistically working with hair has been a way of connecting with her Afro Caribbean family. Sonya Clark is truly an Aesthetic Modernist - challenging grooming rituals and hair practices in the African diaspora through her amazing art.

The show is running until March 2nd. . .it will be well worth the trip!


Creative Spirit- The Art of David C. Driskell 

The David C. Driskell Center
Exhibit Dates: September 15, 2011- December 16, 2011

Dr. David C. Driskell is an inspiring role model! A truly gifted individual who claimed his “priestly calling” - early in life... cultivated it... and harnessed it’s restorative power to fuel a long, purposeful life of creative giving. Creative Spirit: The Art of David C. Driskell celebrates the life and handicraft of Dr. Driskell in the year of his eightieth birthday. In a recent conversation with Dr. Driskell at the inaugural Do Good H.A.I.R. Salon, he stressed the significance of art as a reflection of our lives and of everything we are.

I challenge us all to re-envision our notions of art... and in a certain sense consider ourselves “artist of self” ... actively engaged in crafting a beautiful life. It’s time for us to explore the unknown, make the invisible – visible and reclaim a sense of authentic beauty... aligned with health mindfulness and ancestral spiritual identity.

Beauty is the final Frontier!

Race: Are We So Different?
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Exhibit Dates: June 18, 2011 - January 8, 2012

( My Kids and I at the Smithsonian RACE exhibit )

In our modern society, the persistent use of the terms "black" and "white" are overly simplistic and reflect a level of immaturity in our appreciation of identity.  We are in desperate need of an enlightened racial consciousness celebrating multicultural ancestry. We have for too long gravitated to an identification scheme which focuses on visible cues such as hair and skin color. . . . without acknowledging culture. I've grown tired of monolithic labels regarding race and identity. The future is bright, however, as our children's notions of identity have the promise of being much more inclusive and holistic.

Design Miami
Exhibit Dates: November 29, 2011- December 4, 2011

My life has been fueled by a passion for art, design and architecture. I just got back from the Miami Art Basel/Design Miami shows where British-Ghanaian architect, David Adjaye was honored as the International Designer of the Year.  I had the wonderful privilege of experiencing the festivities as one of David's personal guests. It doesn't get any better than this for a design aficionado!

Beauty Culture Exhibit
Annenberg Space for Photography
May 21- November 27, 2011

At the Center for Aesthetic Modernism, we recognize that achieving one's highest beauty ideal necessitates a sincere appreciation for culture and ancestry.    Anything that positions beauty with culture peaks my interest. So when I saw in a recent New York Times article that The Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles launched an exhibit entitled "Beauty Culture"... I was quite intrigued.  The fashion and beauty themed exhibit is a photographic exploration of how feminine beauty is defined, challenged and revered in modern society.  If in LA, take the time to explore the exhibit and give me some personal feedback.

Dynasty and Divinity: Ife Art in Ancient Nigeria
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Exhibit Dates: February 12, 2011 - May 22, 2011

Museum exhibits showcasing African art from ancient to modern open our eyes to the astonishing elegance and spirit of an authentic African aesthetic. I see that that the Dynasty and Divinity: Ife Art in Ancient Nigeria exhibit was recently at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. I had the wonderful opportunity to experience the exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston this past winter. Technically and visually the artworks of ancient Ife, the ancient Yoruba city state, are among the most remarkable in the world, including near life-size heads and figures of humans in terra cotta and bronze, some cast of nearly pure copper. For me, these ancient images have further refined my sensibility for nasal balance and harmony in individuals of African descent.

The Global Africa Project
Museum of Arts and Design
Exhibit Dates: November 17, 2010 - May 15, 2011


On the spur of the moment, I jumped on the Amtrak Acela to catch the last day of the Global Africa Project at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York. I'm so happy I did! It was truly an amazing and inspiring experience. I often lecture on aesthetic diversity in the African Diaspora and how authentic beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors. This comprehensive exhibit wonderfully illustrates that when it comes to an African aesthetic . . . . creative spirit is without boundaries.