Free and open to the public

Galleries closed Mondays

Skip navigation

Material Stories: Hair

May 20, 2020
12:00 PM

Weaving a soft architectural structure with hair sourced from around the world, gu wenda’s united nations: american code is a monument to a utopian ideal of peaceful human coexistence.

Join Lori Tharps, author of Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America, and the members of multidisciplinary artist group HAIR CLUB, for a conversation about hair as a material carrier of identity and social meaning. The conversation will take gu wenda’s work as a starting point, while also touching upon the status of hair in our current circumstances, both through a consideration of the meaningful social ramifications of the crisis, and through a lighthearted look at how our hair care has changed in isolation.

This conversation will be held virtually via Zoom. Please register in advance for the event link »

Lori L. Tharps

Writer, Speaker, and Assistant Professor of Journalism, Temple University, Klein College of Media and Communication
Lori L. Tharps is a graduate of Smith College and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She spent more than a decade as a magazine professional working on staff at both Vibe and Entertainment Weekly and freelancing for publications such as Essence, Suede and Vibe Vixen, and Tharps’ recent work can be seen in the Columbia Journalism Review,, Grid Philadelphia, and Vogue Black. She is also the author of two critically acclaimed nonfiction books, Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America (St. Martin’s) and Kinky Gazpacho: Life, Love & Spain (Atria). Both The Washington Post and declared Kinky Gazpacho one of the best books of 2008. Tharps also published a novel, Substitute Me (Atria). In February 2014, St. Martin’s Press released an updated version of Hair Story. Tharps lives in Philadelphia with her husband and three children.


HAIR CLUB is an interdisciplinary research-based initiative whose work is centered around the multi-valent topic of HAIR in culture. Co-founded by three graduates of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Suzanne Gold, Kelly Lloyd, and Michal Lynn Shumate, HAIR CLUB is a platform for discussion, dialogue, research, exhibition, and production of HAIR-based work.

Image: gu wenda, united nations: american code, 1995–2019. Installation view, The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2019–20. Photo © Museum Associates/LACMA.