Ruth E. Carter: Afrofuturism in Costume Design

April 1–August 6, 2023
East Building, Level B, Meymandi Exhibition Gallery

Academy Award–winning costume designer Ruth E. Carter has defined generations through her work in film and TV. Her art adds dimensionality, flair, and culture to the characters she envisions, giving power to the incredible actors who wear her designs. Her vibrancy and attention to detail in costuming is integral to translating stories of race, politics, and culture to the big screen. From humble roots in Massachusetts, Carter has helped style the Afrofuturism movement for almost 40 years.

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Creating pieces for films such as Black Panther, Malcom X, Selma, and Do the Right Thing, Carter has designed costumes for legends like Oprah Winfrey, Denzel Washington, Chadwick Boseman, Eddie Murphy, Angela Bassett, and Forest Whitaker.

In this exhibition the NCMA displays more than 60 of Carter’s original garments while also showcasing her immersive process, historical research, and the attention to detail that imbues every project she brings to life.

Ruth E. Carter: Afrofuturism in Costume Design is organized by Julia Long.

Support for this exhibition is made possible, in part, by the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources; the North Carolina Museum of Art Foundation, Inc.; and the William R. Kenan Jr. Endowment for Educational Exhibitions. Research for this exhibition was made possible by Ann and Jim Goodnight/The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fund for Curatorial and Conservation Research and Travel.

Courtesy of Colin Gray and SCAD FASH Museum

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