Sonya Clark: Monumental Cloth, The Flag We Should Know

March 29, 2019–August 4, 2019

Sonya Clark, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, Woven replica of the Confederate Flag of Truce, 2019. Hand-woven linen cloth and madder dye. 18.5 x 36 inches (47 x 91.4 cm). Photo credit: Carlos Avendaño.

In the spring of 1865, a seemingly unremarkable dishcloth played a crucial role in ending the Civil War as the South’s flag of surrender at Appomattox. In Monumental Cloth, The Flag We Should Know, textile and social practice artist Sonya Clark debuts six new works across two floors at The Fabric Workshop and Museum. Focusing specifically on this Confederate Flag of Truce, the exhibition explores the legacy of symbols and challenges the power of propaganda, erasures, and omissions. By making the Truce Flag – a cloth that brokered peace and represented the promise of reconciliation – into a monumental alternative to the infamous Confederate Battle Flag and its pervasive divisiveness, Clark instigates a role reversal and aims to correct a historical imbalance. The Fabric Workshop and Museum is housed in a former flag factory, a particularly fitting place to ask questions about the symbolic power cloth can hold in the consciousness of our nation. Monumental Cloth, The Flag We Should Know is a timely catalyst for dialogue about the scars of the Confederacy and America’s ability to acknowledge and reckon with racial injustice.

Monumental Cloth, The Flag We Should Know will coincide with Sonya Clark: Self-Evident, on view at the African American Museum in Philadelphia (May 25 – September 8, 2019).

Traveling Venues

Monumental Cloth, The Flag We Should Know
H&R Block Artspace, Kansas City, MO
January 31 – March 21, 2020
Monumental Cloth, The Flag We Should Know
deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA
April 9 – September 12, 2021


The Fabric Workshop and Museum
Second and Eighth Floors

Opening Reception

Friday, March 29, 2019, 6:00 – 8:00 pm

Artists in This Exhibition


Sonya Clark, The Fabric Workshop and Museum
Neil McClister, Artforum, September 1, 2019

The Confederate Symbol We Should Be Remembering Gets Its Own Museum Show in Philadelphia
Laura Pitcher, Observer, April 2, 2019

Episode 012: In Pursuit of the Confederate Truce Flag with Artist Sonya Clark
Paul Farber, Monument Lab, March 27, 2019

Things to Do in Philadelphia This Weekend
Patrick Rapa, Philadelphia Magazine, March 29, 2019

The plain white Confederate flag of truce and surrender inspires exhibit in Philly
Peter Crimmins, WHYY, March 30, 2019

Confederate truce flag uncovers another part of history
Bobbi Booker, The Philadelphia Tribune, March 30, 2019

'This Flag Brought Our National Back Together:' Artist Sonya Clark Explains Why She is Recreating the Little-Known Flag That Ended the Civil War
Sarah Cascone, artnet News, April 1, 2019

Rediscovering the Confederate Flag of Truce
Jon Hurdle, The New York Times, April 1, 2019

A forgotten flag
Pamela J. Forsythe, Broad Street Review, April 2, 2019

The Confederate flag of surrender rises in Philadelphia
Gabriella Angeleti, The Art Newspaper, April 2, 2019

Confederate truce flag exhibit in Philly asks: Can a dishrag clean up America's white supremacy mess?
Thomas Hine, The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 2, 2019

Monumental Cloth
Staff Writer, Selvedge Magazine, April 3, 2019

Sonya Clark at The Fabric Workshop and Museum
Sarah Archer, American Craft, July 23, 2019

Geographies of the Truce
Hilary Malson, Monument Lab, April 3, 2019

The untold story behind the other Confederate flag
Meredith Mendelsohn, CNN, April 5, 2019

A Monumental Cloth That Tells a New Truth About the US Civil War
Jasmine Weber, Hyperallergic, April 10, 2019

No. 388: Sonya Clark, Analia Saban
Tyler Green, The Modern Art Notes Podcast, April 12, 2019

The Real Confederate Flag Was A Dish Rag, And It's Making A Comeback At The Fabric Workshop & Museum
Jonathon Keats, Forbes, April 23, 2019

Fabric Workshop and Museum: The Confederate Flag of Truce
Aunyea Bailey, 6abc Loves The Arts, May 26, 2019

Object Lessons: Sonya Clark
Maura Thomas, Sculpture Magazine, July 1, 2019

Flag Flying: Artists are Using the Symbolic Medium to Raise Political and Social Issues
Victoria L. Valentine, Culture Type, July 4, 2019

Interrogating the Past: Sonya Clark Interviewed by Scott Turri
Scott Turri, BOMB Magazine, July 4, 2019

ArtSeen: Sonya Clark: Monumental Cloth, The Flag We Should Know
Maureen Catbagan and Amber Jamilla Musser, The Brooklyn Rail, July 5, 2019

An enormous Confederate flag is going on display in Philly this week — here's why
Stephen Salisbury, The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 26, 2019

Downloadable Media and Related Links

Download the Press ReleaseDownload the Press Release

About the Artist

Born 1967, Washington, D.C.
Clark has received numerous awards, including the James Renwick Alliance Distinguished Educator Award (2018), Anonymous Was A Woman Award (2016), ArtPrize Juried Grand Prize (co-winner, 2014), Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship (2010 and 2011), and Pollock Krasner award. Her work has been exhibited in more than 350 museums and galleries throughout the world. For 12 years, Clark served as a professor and chair of the Department of Craft and Material Studies at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Richmond, Virginia. She is currently Professor of Art and the History of Art at Amherst College where she received an honorary doctorate in 2015. Deeply committed to the field of craft, Clark has also served on the board of the American Craft Council (Minneapolis, MN), Textile Museum (Washington, DC), and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts (Deer Isle, ME).


Sonya Clark: Monumental Cloth, The Flag We Should Know is supported by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Amherst College, Agnes Gund, the National Endowment for the Arts, Goya Contemporary Gallery & Goya-Girl Press, Sara and Bill Morgan, Rotasa Fund, John Meyerhoff, M.D. and Lenel Srochi-Meyerhoff, and Judith S. Weisman. Looms generously donated by: Craft + Materials Studies at The University of the Arts; Fibers & Material Studies at Tyler School of Art, Temple University; Textile Design at Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University) School of Design and Engineering; and Becky Flax.

Major support of FWM is provided by the Marion Boulton “Kippy” Stroud Foundation. FWM receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Additional support is provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, The Philadelphia Cultural Fund, Agnes Gund, and the Board of Directors and Members of The Fabric Workshop and Museum.


Past Related Events

Teen Program
Fashioning Hair
May 17, 2019, 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm

Public Program
Truce Workshop with Sonya Clark
March 12, 2019, 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Reversals with Sonya Clark
March 30, 2019, 2:00 pm

Adult Program
Truce Flag Woven Pattern Workshop
April 20, 2019, 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm

Truce, Resistance and the Legacy of Flags as Cultural Symbols
June 13, 2019, 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm

Public Program
Sounding the Ancestors with Sonya Clark, Regina Carter, and Jason Moran
June 28, 2019, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Partner Event
Solidarity Book Project Make-With Sessions with Sonya Clark
March 16, 2021, 11:30 am to 12:30 pm

Partner Event
Solidarity Book Project Make-With Session with Sonya Clark
April 10, 2021, 11:30 am to 12:30 pm

Partner Event
Solidarity Book Project Make-With Session with Sonya Clark
April 28, 2021, 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Partner Event
Solidarity Book Project Make-With Session with Sonya Clark
May 20, 2021, 11:30 am to 12:30 pm