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Gallery Exhibitions

Museum Exhibitions & Projects

Museum Exhibition

L'Ecole des Beaux Art...
Mickalene Thomas: Femme au divan II

July 5 – August 31, 2014

museum exhibition

George Eastman House
Happy Birthday to a Beautiful Woman

June 20 – October 19, 2014

Artist Project

Mickalene Thomas
Decópolis: The Talent of Others

February 6 - 24, 2013
The Proposition, New York

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Artist Bio

Mickalene Thomas

PRESS

Ocula

December 20, 2016

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Artomity

December 15, 2016

News

What Happens When Artists Take Over an Upper East Side Mansion W Magazine

April 5 2016

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Mickalene Thomas on Muses, Models, and Mentors Interview Magazine

March 10 2016

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‘Muse: Mickalene Thomas Photographs’ and ‘Tête-à-Tête’What to See in New York Art Galleries This Week New York Times

February 11 2016

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Mickalene Thomas on Her Photographic Muses Vogue

February 6 2016

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Kindred spirits: Mickalene Thomas' collaborative photography at Aperture Wallpaper* Magazine

February 2 2016

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In Mickalene Thomas’s awe-inspiring portraits, a meaningful reflection of black women in art New York Times

January 29 2016

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Tour Mickalene Thomas's Brooklyn Townhouse Vogue

January 6 2016

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Panel Discussion including Mickalene Thomas Art Basel Miami Beach 2015

December 3 2015

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Mickalene Thomas Receives 2015 United States Artist Fellowship Award

November 10 2015

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Beautiful Photos Of Women Take On Stereotypes Through High Art Refinery29

November 4 2015

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The New York Times

July 18, 2014

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Time Out New York

July 7, 2014

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Interview Magazine

June 26, 2014

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Huffington Post

June 26, 2014

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New York Observer / Gallerist NY

June 20, 2014

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American Art

Spring 2014

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Vogue

February 17, 2014

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The New York Times

June 14, 2013

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Phaidon

June 13, 2013

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Whitewall

June 12, 2013

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Artspace

June 7, 2013

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Wallpaper* Brooklyn queen of bling Mickalene Thomas bedazzles with her rhinestone-studded canvases

June 2013

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ARTnews

April 2013

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Opening Ceremony

March 20, 2013

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Artforum

February 14, 2013

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ICA Boston Mickalene Thomas

December 12, 2012 - April 7, 2013

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ANP Quarterly

Vol 2 / No 7

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The Wall Street Journal

November 23, 2012

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The New Yorker

November 12, 2012

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Financial Times Mickalene Thomas: Origin of the Universe, Brooklyn Museum, New York

November 7, 2012

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The New York Observer

November 5, 2012

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Artforum

November 2012

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Modern Painters

October 2012

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Brooklyn Museum, NY Mickalene Thomas: Origin of the Universe

28 September – 20 January 2012

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The New York Times

September 28, 2012

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The Wall Street Journal

September 27, 2012

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The Wall Street Journal

September 24, 2012

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The New York Times

September 21, 2012

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Time Out New York

September 13-19, 2012

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W Magazine

September 2012

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Vogue

September 2012

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New York Magazine

August 27, 2012

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Art Review

May 31, 2012

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Artinfo

May 15, 2012

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Huffington Post

April 25, 2012

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Los Angeles Times

April 21, 2012

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The New York Times

March 30, 2012

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Artforum

December 31, 2011

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Artforum

December 1, 2011

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Velvet Magazine

October 31, 2011

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The New York Times

October 20, 2011

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Loop 21

October 18, 2011

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The New Yorker

October 7, 2011

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The Village Voice

October 5, 2011

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Photograph Magazine

October 5, 2011

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Whitewall

September 29, 2011

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Artinfo

September 26, 2011

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Arude

September 13, 2011

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Modern Painters

August 31, 2011

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Paper

August 31, 2011

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Bomb

May 31, 2011

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Bomb Video Mickalene Thomas: Behind the Scenes

Summer 2011

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Life and Times

May 23, 2011

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Art in America

February 17, 2011

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Artnews

December 31, 2010

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NBC Washington

August 22, 2010

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A Sky Filled With Shooting Stars

July 29, 2010

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V Magazine In The Flesh

April 30, 2010

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New York Observer A Window on Art: Mickalene Thomas' Shiny Sex-Appeal Paintings

April 26, 2010

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Weltkunst

January 31, 2010

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NY Arts

August 31, 2009

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Time Out New York

April 23, 2009

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Artforum

April 20, 2009

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The New York Times

April 12, 2009

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Nylon

March 31, 2009

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Art + Auction In the Studio

February 28, 2009

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Bomb Number 107 / Spring 2009

February 28, 2009

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Wynwood

November 30, 2008

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Wound Issue 4 / Autumn 2008

September 30, 2008

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Trace

March 31, 2008

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Whitewall

December 31, 2007

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Modern Painters

November 30, 2007

Artforum


Artforum
December 2011

Mickalene Thomas
By David Frankel

"We respond to beauty, its seduction and attraction , yet what that has done culturally to people that are subject to universal codes of beauty has been devastating. " So said Mickalene Thomas earlier this year, interviewed by the artist Sean Landers for Bomb magazine. She was talking about "codes of beauty" as they apply to people-to whether or not people are found beautiful, in their bodies, in their styles-but her remark seemed al so to touch on a divide in American thinking about art, one that has played out quite virulently over the past thirty years. Should art be beautiful? Is its value formal and is it a world unto itself' Or is it a vehicle of identity, as king us to focus more on the people using its codes, or who are subject to its codes, than on the codes themselves? That's simply put, of course, and the division is never that clean or complete, though from reading critical writing in the press, you'd sometimes think it was. In any case, it's probably inevitable that Thomas's work would be considered in terms of identity politics, since it deals intensively with black women, their representation, and their self-assertion. Yet Thomas is an artist deeply attentive to codes of beauty embodied quite specifically in the history of painting, and it seems entirely typical of her to be thinking, in that conversation with Landers, simultaneously about formal systems and the people they affect.

Thomas's best-known paintings are both grand in scale and, how shall I say, gaudy, being often literally studded with rhinestones. In this show she exhibited mainly smaller pieces-many of them photo graphic and mixed-media collages looking compositionally like mini-me versions of the paintings-which she hung salon style in clusters, creating the effect of large works constituted of many intricate parts. While the paintings seem to ask for a certain distance, these arrangements pulled the viewer in close, since the individual pieces were too small to be wholly seen from any remove. The device made literal a push-pull effect, as much erotic as visual, in Thomas's full-size works, whose female figures often have the seduction and attraction she recognizes in beauty but who are also physically imposing and demand space. They are additionally complex in reflecting Thomas's sensitivity to a continuing visual argument over the representation of the black body here objectified, there its power accentuated-that you can see played out in both popular culture and the work of contemporary artists such as Carrie Mae Weems and Wangechi Mutu.

The salon hang, whose gregariousness Thomas compounded by setting the works in a multitude of different frames, served another purpose, moving the show away from the modernist white-box vocabulary and to ward a more polyglot speech. And this is, in fact, Thomas's tongue, seen nowhere more clearly than in the wildly clashing juxtapositions of patterns that pervade her scenes, whether through fabrics on couches, cushions, and clothes in her studio photographs or through the cutout color ed and printed papers and other materials that make up the landscape of the collages. One touchstone here is surely the Cubist papier collé, another the related art of Romare Bearden. But other thoughts crowd in as I look at these works: about the decorative, famously prohibited in classic modernism but here explicitly embraced; about Matisse, whose gorgeous use of printed cloth Thomas both adapts and wildly heightens, even though his insistent use of fabrics as studio props was partly responsible for what Robert Hughes has called the "image of Matisse as a decorative, hence feminine, hence inferior painter"; a bout high art and low, and about sanctioned and unsanctioned means of picture making; and then-Thomas being interested not only in the visual codes of pictures but in the people those pictures touch by powerfully influencing the way they are seen-about popular taste in decor and fashion. What assumptions do our tastes, our styles, our appearances, lead others to make a bout us? The question leads inevitably out into the world, to issues of class, race, and gender that, however, are embedded in work that treats art history with delight.