Back To Top

Artist

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

Store

Artist Bio

Mickalene Thomas

PRESS

Ocula

December 20, 2016

PRESS

Artomity

December 15, 2016

News

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

April 5 2016

News

Mickalene Thomas on Muses, Models, and Mentors Interview Magazine

March 10 2016

News

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

February 11 2016

News

Mickalene Thomas on Her Photographic Muses Vogue

February 6 2016

News

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

February 2 2016

News

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

January 29 2016

News

Tour Mickalene Thomas's Brooklyn Townhouse Vogue

January 6 2016

News

Panel Discussion including Mickalene Thomas Art Basel Miami Beach 2015

December 3 2015

News

Mickalene Thomas Receives 2015 United States Artist Fellowship Award

November 10 2015

News

Beautiful Photos Of Women Take On Stereotypes Through High Art Refinery29

November 4 2015

PRESS

The New York Times

July 18, 2014

PRESS

Time Out New York

July 7, 2014

PRESS

Interview Magazine

June 26, 2014

PRESS

Huffington Post

June 26, 2014

PRESS

New York Observer / Gallerist NY

June 20, 2014

PRESS

American Art

Spring 2014

PRESS

Vogue

February 17, 2014

PRESS

The New York Times

June 14, 2013

PRESS

Phaidon

June 13, 2013

PRESS

Whitewall

June 12, 2013

PRESS

Artspace

June 7, 2013

News

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

June 2013

PRESS

ARTnews

April 2013

PRESS

Opening Ceremony

March 20, 2013

PRESS

Artforum

February 14, 2013

News

ICA Boston Mickalene Thomas

December 12, 2012 - April 7, 2013

PRESS

ANP Quarterly

Vol 2 / No 7

PRESS

The Wall Street Journal

November 23, 2012

PRESS

The New Yorker

November 12, 2012

PRESS

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

November 7, 2012

PRESS

The New York Observer

November 5, 2012

PRESS

Artforum

November 2012

PRESS

Modern Painters

October 2012

News

Brooklyn Museum, NY Mickalene Thomas: Origin of the Universe

28 September – 20 January 2012

PRESS

The New York Times

September 28, 2012

PRESS

The Wall Street Journal

September 27, 2012

PRESS

The Wall Street Journal

September 24, 2012

PRESS

The New York Times

September 21, 2012

PRESS

Time Out New York

September 13-19, 2012

PRESS

W Magazine

September 2012

PRESS

Vogue

September 2012

PRESS

New York Magazine

August 27, 2012

PRESS

Art Review

May 31, 2012

PRESS

Artinfo

May 15, 2012

PRESS

Huffington Post

April 25, 2012

PRESS

Los Angeles Times

April 21, 2012

PRESS

The New York Times

March 30, 2012

PRESS

Artforum

December 31, 2011

PRESS

Artforum

December 1, 2011

PRESS

Velvet Magazine

October 31, 2011

PRESS

The New York Times

October 20, 2011

PRESS

Loop 21

October 18, 2011

PRESS

The New Yorker

October 7, 2011

PRESS

The Village Voice

October 5, 2011

PRESS

Photograph Magazine

October 5, 2011

PRESS

Whitewall

September 29, 2011

PRESS

Artinfo

September 26, 2011

PRESS

Arude

September 13, 2011

PRESS

Modern Painters

August 31, 2011

PRESS

Paper

August 31, 2011

PRESS

Bomb

May 31, 2011

PRESS

Bomb Video Mickalene Thomas: Behind the Scenes

Summer 2011

PRESS

Life and Times

May 23, 2011

PRESS

Art in America

February 17, 2011

PRESS

Artnews

December 31, 2010

PRESS

NBC Washington

August 22, 2010

PRESS

A Sky Filled With Shooting Stars

July 29, 2010

PRESS

V Magazine In The Flesh

April 30, 2010

PRESS

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

April 26, 2010

PRESS

Weltkunst

January 31, 2010

PRESS

NY Arts

August 31, 2009

PRESS

Time Out New York

April 23, 2009

PRESS

Artforum

April 20, 2009

PRESS

The New York Times

April 12, 2009

PRESS

Nylon

March 31, 2009

PRESS

Art + Auction In the Studio

February 28, 2009

PRESS

Bomb Number 107 / Spring 2009

February 28, 2009

PRESS

Wynwood

November 30, 2008

PRESS

Wound Issue 4 / Autumn 2008

September 30, 2008

PRESS

Trace

March 31, 2008

PRESS

Whitewall

December 31, 2007

PRESS

Modern Painters

November 30, 2007

Bomb

Number 107 / Spring 2009


Artists On Artists / Mickalene Thomas
By Kara Walker

Interspersed within my few remaining early issues of Ebony magazine from the 70s are faded liquor and cigarette advertisements, rich with period visions of black urban cool. These belie a voracious hunger for entry to a realm of sophistication and wealth - the satisfaction of a perfect afro and cocoa-butter skin - contra the grind of civil rights initiatives and struggles announced in the black and white articles buttressing them. In the early 70s a new social awareness within both feminist and African-American liberation circles of the unique forms of oppression suffered by Black women necessitated that women of color define Black feminism once and for all. Alice Walker put forth the term "womanist," suggesting an outrageous and audacious woman, one who loves other women, sexually or not. Seventies Blaxploitation films like Cleopatra Jones, with its gun-toting heroine, capitalized on this burgeoning racial pride, problematically merging a miasma of competing interests, most obviously Black power and female lack.

Mickalene Thomas's chocolate-colored sisters with statuesque thighs, supple flesh, and meandering hair announce the promise of womanist agency. The space-age domestics or mother Africa soul searchers of her odalisque photos are draped over sofas and swathed in layers of contrasting "exotic" prints - a porn trope as much as it was a fact of 70s interior design. Thomas's bodies begin as substrata, canvases to a libidinal urge reminiscent of depictions of the Other in early photography and pornography (and, in turn, historical photographs' mimicry of Western painting traditions). But, while relying on the familiar arrangements of white-male painting tradition, Thomas allows her photographic compositions to spiral inward, away from the superficial tropes of exotica, toward the complex sexuality of her models. Situated in a wood-paneled setting redolent of a recreation room or a now-dated interior redesign - familiar to a child of the 70s like Thomas - each photograph layers pride and resistance. A formerly exploitative gaze - Manet's Olympia, Matisse's odalisques - becomes the frame for a kind of post-womanist self-consciousness.

Wood paneling likewise pervades Thomas's rhinestone, acrylic, and enamel paintings (many based on her photos). It is this ubiquitous visual which formally announces the constraints of nostalgia. Like her photos, Thomas's paintings signal nostalgia for that transitional moment when desire, individuation, and upward mobility press against Blaxploitation. Adhering to the limits of a seductively glittering picture plane, Thomas's soul sisters gaze out from between contrasting arrays of color and pattern. In her hands, the Black woman is both a bright and polished Ebony ideal and a picture of womanist yearning. Posed in a sassy Pointer Sister contrapposto suggestive of dignity and self-assurance - and physically covered in bling - Thomas is proposing that playful juxtapositions of personal memory and historical example are the constructs of Black beauty ... and that such juxtapositions should scintillate and dazzle as only what's truly longed for can.


- Kara Walker is an artist living in New York. Walker's work will be in upcoming shows at the Houston Museum of Contemporary Arts; the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska; and the Frye Museum in Seattle.