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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

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Ocula

December 20, 2016

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Artomity

December 15, 2016

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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

November 2012

Mickalene Thomas
Santa Monica Museum of Art
By: Suzanne Hudson


Courbet’s L’Origine du monde (The Origin of the World), 1866, was staged to great effect in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 2008 retrospective, where a protective wall, rather than secreting it away, none too subtly called attention to the infamous painting of a crotch splayed open. Mickalene Thomas’s rejoinder-the crux of her first solo museum exhibition, “Origin of the Universe,” which opened at the Santa Monica Museum of Art and is currently on view at the Brooklyn Museum-is rooted in this retrospective, and the physical fact of confronting the panel seems key to what she makes of it: three versions of the original (all works 2012), with herself and her partner alternately serving as the models for the cropped, attenuated figure disappearing under the folds of rumpled bed linens. As with her pastiches of Hockney and Braque, Manet and Matisse, Ingres and Romare Bearden, Thomas’s straight-up evocations of Courbet are thick, tangible things that evidence the weight of her borrowings with bracing earnestness. But the Courbet images are more forthright about Thomas’s ambition relative to capital-H history, claiming her consequence, rather literally, in a long narrative of representational gambits. (In Santa Monica, lest the point be missed, Thomas propped a massive collage, Landscape with Camouflage, on an oversize easel.)


With Origin of the Universe 1 anchoring the show, the selection of work on view, as stated in the press release, “examines art historical constructs of feminine identity, sexuality, beauty, and power.” Perhaps it is no surprise that, given this orientation, Thomas takes on Duchamp, reprising his seminal Etant donnés as Take All the Time You Need.  Following Duchamp’s conceit of presenting a scene spied through a pair of bored holes, Thomas used SMMA’s project space to fashion a room accessible through peepholes alone. During the opening, viewers would have glimpsed a woman lounging in the cloistered area; afterward, her scent lingered, while the place, pulsing with a 1970s funk sound track, was otherwise unoccupied. Through the crevice, a wood-paneled period piece came into focus, replete with allusive details: patchwork, multipatterned furniture straight out of the artist’s childhood; framed geometric abstractions whose patterns complemented those in the fractured surface planes of Thomas’s paintings; and books, including The Practical Encyclopedia of Good Decorating and Home Improvement, which informed the depictions of depopulated interiors situated in the adjacent SMMA galleries. Through the knickknacks, too, one might have spotted a third version of the Origin of the Universe adorning the rear wall (the other two iterations were installed in the galleries proper).


Though the Technicolor homages to Malian photographers Malick Sidibé and Seydou Keira that have made Thomas’s career-big, gorgeous rhinestone-encrusted portraits of accessorized and painted women (including her model-collaborators Din and Qusuquzah, both depicted here)-are well represented in this show, the strongest works are, perhaps, her paintings of empty rooms. Like Take All the Time You Need, they cannily imply corporeal presence without actually representing bodies and while refusing the encyclopedic purview implied by their source (the home-decor volume discreetly shelved in the ante-chamber). Particularly convincing is Interior: Striped Foyer, a madcap picture of a vestibule with a side table and shifting wall planes covered in wallpaper so finely striped as to produce an assailment comparable to the queasy afterimages of Op art. Interior: Blue Couch with Green OwI sports a foreground coffee table holding the titular bird figurine, a fruit bowl, and a pile of magazines-elaborate excuses for the production of a still life-while the whole scene allows for a magpielike overlay of a modernist aesthetic. Broadly characteristic of Thomas’s embalming of precedent under layers of enamel, these works transcend their references to history and start making it.