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Conversations · Exhibition-Related · Exhibition-Related

Out of Bounds: Makalé Faber Cullen on “Wangechi Mutu: Intertwined”

Cover Image:

Photo: Liz Ligon

“I always feel like the margins tell you more than the center of the page ever could.” —Marcia Tucker, Museum Founder

Out of Bounds is a series of gallery-based talks, readings, performances, and more that seeks to expand the ways we think about what’s on display in the New Museum. Bringing together artists, specialists, and workers from fields beyond the art world, these engagements expand on themes found in the artworks and exhibitions on view.

For this Out of Bounds gallery talk, hear from Makalé Faber Cullen, a Guinean American social scientist, who will focus on one of the materials Wangechi Mutu uses in her practice: soil. For Makalé, soil refers to a largely under-appreciated natural resource, a living body that forms a continuum over the Earth’s surface, and an archive of human cultural history. Focusing on her research of global soils, Makalé will connect her rich knowledge of the substance to Wangechi Mutu’s attention to transmutation, violence, and feminine bodies. Join the conversation to dig into the ways soil serves as both a foundational lifeforce and a medium for artmaking.

The Out of Bounds series is organized by Austin D Bowes, Assistant Operations Specialist, and Jasmin Tabatabaee, Assistant Education Specialist.


This event has reached capacity.
A limited number of standby tickets may be available at the admissions desk on a first-come, first-served basis. The standby line will open at 11:45 a.m. on April 1.

The program will be presented onsite at the New Museum. Vaccination and masks are strongly recommended, but not required. Please review the New Museum’s COVID guidelines in advance of your visit.


We strive to make our programs as accessible as possible. For full accessibility information, including services available by request, please click here.

About the Speaker

Makalé Faber Cullen (b. 1974, Washington, D.C., she/her) is a social scientist who lives and works in New York. Faber Cullen specializes in urban soils and ethnobiology—the study of people, plants, and their shared environments. Over the past twenty years she has researched, documented, and presented human and plant stewards of endangered North American culture for legacy institutions, including the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress. Faber Cullen’s extensive fieldwork and curatorial projects led to sustained restoration efforts of forty-five wild food species and habitats and 642 species of cultivated food plants, as well as the co-creation of six independent harvester and producer associations across the nation. Faber Cullen holds degrees in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Virginia and George Mason University. As the summer 2021 Andrew W. Mellon Fellow at the New York Botanical Garden, she focused on the diaspora of Jamaican root tonics, a centuries-old artisanal beverage showcasing traditional botanical knowledge, unique island biodiversity and resilience. She is also a contributing author to four books and multiple articles on landscapes and material culture.


Support for Education and Public Engagement programs is provided, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, and from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

We gratefully acknowledge the Bowery Council of the New Museum for its support of Education and Public Engagement Programs.

Endowment support is provided by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund; the Skadden, Arps Education Programs Fund; and the William Randolph Hearst Endowed Fund for Education Programs at the New Museum.

Full support for “Wangechi Mutu: Intertwined” can be viewed here.

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