Marilyn Jensen Houlberg was a leading expert on the arts and culture of Haitian Vodou. She was Professor Emeritus of Liberal Arts and Professor Emeritus of Art History, Theory, and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, having taught there since 1974.
Fondly known as “Mambo Marilyn”, she spent many years living, studying, and doing research in Haiti. Marilyn befriended many artists and most all of the Flag makers in P-au-p at the time. She became an intermediary to help them sell their art and their Flags. Marilyn was also an outstanding curator and was the co-curator of the groundbreaking Exhibit “Sacred Arts of Haitian Vodou” along with Donald Cosentino of UCLA Fowler Museum fame. She also co-curated “In Extremis”, also by the UCLA Fowler Museum, and “Mami Wata”, by John Drewal. Marilyn had a truly unusual and funky gallery/studio in Chicago which housed not only her art, but a shrine to Elvis Presley, and many large scale sculptures by the Atis Rezistans artists of the Grand Rue, and others by Pierrot Barra of the iron Market, and many other African pieces acquired from her worldwide travels. Marilyn was a true scholar, a friend, and a force in the world of Haitian Art.