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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

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


Mickalene Thomas: Lush Life
By Simon Watson

Mickalene Thomas's lush and complex portraits of African-American women are derived from contemporary culture and personal memories of the women in her family. Glamorous, aggressively sexual, and flashing with glittering Swarovski rhinestones, Thomas's paintings celebrate female beauty and power. Her scantily clad black heroines are quasi-self-portraits inspired by pop culture (1960s girl wrestlers, 1970s blaxploitation movies featuring Pam Grier, disco-era album covers, and Jet magazine "Beauties of the Week") and framed by high-culture references to nudes by Matisse, Picabia, and Balthus.

Early on in her career, before Yale graduate school and an artist residency at The Studio Museum in Harlem, Thomas was using art as a personal means of recovery, of art therapy, a process of coming to an understanding of herself and her complicated dynamic with her mother.

She would take photographs of herself posing as pop icons, as black celebrities. And she convinced her mother to become her first model, producing erotically charged images that became the basis for her early paintings, In fact, much of her process comes from performance, and photographing performances that she stages. For Thomas, photography is a resource, a form of drawing. Usually depicted as servants or docile bystanders in Western art, African-American women are the central focus in Thomas's paintings - resplendent in rich patterns and colors and bejeweled with rhinestones, secure in their self-possession and dignity. In installations filled with fabric throws, pillows, vintage clothing, and afro wigs, Thomas photographs intimate vignettes populated by herself and models. Reconfigured on panels and heavily accented with rhinestones, these images of empowered women successfully negotiate the tension between personal investigations of eroticism and self-identity.

Hers is a fiery eroticism, central both to her work and her being. As she said in an interview with Paul Laster for The Studio Museum in Harlem: "Sexuality is everything. It's a form of expression that allows me to be completely in control of my environment and social encounters. I don't mean that as a sleazy thing. I believe that when women are in touch with their sexual selves we are at our most powerful, which has nothing to do with lack of intelligence. Having a strong awareness of your sexual self provides a certain sense of confidence and assertiveness. This is why I like icons from the 70's. The women at that time were full of sexual energy and strength. Pam Grier was sexy and kicked ass without smearing her lipstick."

Mickalene Thomas earned her MFA from Yale University and after graduating in 2002 participated in the Artist-in-Residence program at The Studio Museum in Harlem. Her work has been included in many prominent group exhibitions, including "Hands on. Hands Down" and "Frequency" at the Studio Museum and "Greater New York 2005" at P.S.1/MoMA. She has had solo shows at Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago; a project installation at Susanne Vielmetler, Los Angeles: a two-person show at Caren Golden Fine Art, New York, and a solo exhibition at the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art opening In November 2007.