Alumnus Mario Moore comes into his own in historic DIA exhibition

Brooklyn-based artist Mario Moore (’09, Illustration) has always maintained strong connections to his native Detroit, particularly in his paintings. In the Art of Rebellion: Black Art of the Civil Rights Movement, an exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) reflecting on the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Detroit rebellion, that connection is placed within historical context.

Moore is one of 34 artists examining the events and legacy of this critical event in the city’s history and, as a result, his painting has been featured widely in local and national media, including the PBS NewsHour, the New York Times and the Detroit Free Press.

Moore’s contribution to the exhibition is his 2015 painting, “Queen Mother Helen Moore,” which depicts his grandmother holding photographs of her three living sons.

As Moore explained to PBS NewsHour about the painting, “As soon as you turn on the news they tend to show the mourning black mother. That’s the narrative that you get. And I believe that [the narrative] is a way to find compassion for the ‘other’. But once it gets used over and over and over again, it loses its value. For me, the women in my family have a very different perspective. They’re very protective, very powerful.” At 29, Mario Moore is the youngest artist in the exhibition.

The DIA show is Moore’s first exhibition in a museum on the national stage, but it is only the most recent example of the increasing attention the artist’s work has garnered this year at major institutions.

Moore, who received his MFA in Painting from Yale University School of Art in 2013, also mounted a solo show last spring at the Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts (UICA) in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The show was part of Here + Now, a rotating series of solo exhibitions, performances and community events by emerging and mid-career African American visual artists, spoken word poets, curators and performance artists. The paintings in Moore’s show highlight African American women and were created between 2012 and 2017.

Later this fall, Moore will join Richard Lewis, Rashaun Rucker and his mother, multimedia artist and CCS alumna Sabrina Nelson (’91, Fine Arts), in Evidence of Things Not Seen at the College’s Center Galleries. The exhibition opens on November 10, 2017, with a reception from 6-8 p.m., and runs through December 16.

The DIA’s Art of Rebellion: Black Art of the Civil Rights Movement runs through October 22, 2017. For more insight into the exhibition and Mario Moore’s work, visit and:



For more information on Moore’s group show at Center Galleries in November, visit: