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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

Whitewall

June 12, 2013

Basel: Mickalene Thomas’ “Better Days” Absolut Art Bar
By Stephanie Bailey


On learning that Mickalene Thomas was going to be producing the Absolut Art Bar at this year’s Art Basel, Whitewall could not resist an interview with the artist. Thinking about Thomas as a painter, this discussion explores how the artist approached the commission, which she titled “Better Days” and which she based on her memories of the house parties her mother threw in the seventies. Thomas talks about what ideas have fed into the installation, how the project has informed her own practice and how it feels to be making an art bar during a global event like Art Basel.


WHITEWALL: How did you approach the commission for the Absolut Art Bar at Art Basel 44?


MICKALENE THOMAS: Well, the bar is more of an experiment. It’s activated by the people who accompany it everyday on a day-to-day basis and dependant on the people who come on a particular night. When I conceived of “Better Days,” it was after-parties my mother used to throw for her musician friends and artists. They came together mainly to raise money for sickle cell anaemia and it was a way for them to come together in their community and join together in spirit. It wasn’t just a party, but also a way to focus on charity. So though there is no charity here in this bar I’ve produced, the idea is that it is fashioned in the same way, like a party in a house. The bar is really a premise. It acts as a return to the home.


WW: I wanted to ask about the song by Nina Simone, I Want A Little Sugar in my Bowl.


MT: Well, my mother did a play based on Simone’s song with the group Better Days – the group of people she would organise these parties with. They also put on fashion shows and plays during their gatherings; these really off-beat non-sensical plays that really didn’t make sense. One of these was Put a Little Sugar in my Bowl. Most of my work generates with my mother as my muse, and after she passed in September. So I thought it would be fitting to throw this social celebration in her honor. For me, those films are related to a particular kind of woman.


WW: How has your practice as a painter fed into the production of the installation?


MT: I mean when I am arranging the details I think about them as little canvases or paintings, and all these little transitions. The films that are playing in the space are important to me, including one particular one, Killer of Sheep by Charles Burnett. [They are] some are my mother’s favourite movies. I grew up watching Mahogany and Ladies Sing the Blues and I was inspired by them; even the Blaxploitation films, like Foxy Brown or Cleopatra Jones. Despite the controversy that surrounds them for their explicit, provocative racism, the women in these films were heroines, fighting in their community to keep it a certain way.


WW: Compositionally, it’s almost like stepping into one of your canvases…


MT: It’s composed like a prop-like tableau much in the same way I make my paintings. I am making a very direct position. Everything was brought here in a shipment container, so 95% of the stuff that you see, the furniture, the art on the wall, are by artist friends of mine – Wangechi Mutu, Zaire Simmons, Lorna Simpson, Duron Jackson, Derrick Adams. The fake plants, candles, coasters, tables, candy in the jar, all came from New York, sourced from different flea markets and vintage stores, even the clothes the waiters and bar people are wearing, and the lights; we had American sockets fixed.


I did that not because I didn’t trust that I could find these things in Basel. I mean – you could find the same folding white chairs you have in your backyard here. I brought these things to show that there is a global familiarity. That in itself is a global conversation.


WW: How has this project differed or expanded on your artistic practice? Has it informed you as an artist?


MT: It’s a very different experience because for me it is about collaboration, and not necessarily two people working on a similar idea to make something, but collaboration in that all of our art intellects, which vary in many ways, come together in a single space. From the musicians, the DJs…maybe I think about this as a social collaboration in that I’ve worked with all these other creators to take this to another level.


WW: How did you deal with doing an art bar installation when you were approached?


MT: At first I had a sort of aversion to it and I wasn’t interested in the bar concept. I wanted it to really be about an experiment of sharing this social idea and when I pitched “Better Days,” I don’t think they expected this. It’s difficult, because you’re putting yourself out there in a way, and exposing yourself to a certain level, and it can keep you in a particular box, and that’s a box I don’t necessarily like to stay in.


I also thought a lot about bars in particular parts of the world, like a bar in the rural areas of Nigeria, and you have these little shacks where people just hang out all day and they talk and exchange ideas. And through that meeting spot, something else happens – something comes out. And so I hope that the space I create will be activated in the same way.