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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

Nylon


Radar: Mickalene Thomas
Body and Soul
With a nod to blaxploitation, and a wink to balthus, Mickalene Thomas is empowering women one portrait at a time.

By Luke Crisell

Although Mickalene Thomas and I are the only two people in her sprawling studio in the outermost reaches of Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, it seems as though we're not alone. Hanging on the walls around us are the pictures she's preparing for an upcoming show at Manhattan's Lehmann Maupin Gallery. The large, beguiling paintings depict fellow black women in various states of repose - laughing, languishing naked, contorted on a couch - and the characters seem to populate the space along with us.

"When I started photographing my mother [Thomas's first, and still most frequent, model], it opened up a new type of dialogue that I'd never had with her," says Thomas, who studied art at Yale. "She started sharing things with me about herself: her past, her relationship with men. Photographing her ... allowed me to start looking at her differently. It [became] a very therapeutic thing for both of us. I photographed her in this '70s crocheted negligee in her bedroom. I would give her a scenario like, 'OK, your boyfriend just came home .... You're feeling very sexy. You want to surprise him.'''

In its intimacy, Thomas's work calls to mind the compelling portraiture of Balthus, Paul Gaugin, and Manet. Like Balthus, Thomas is fascinated by the expression of sexuality. But where his nudes - often of children - lack adornments, Thomas clearly delights in decorating her subjects. As Manet kept a dressing-up box in his studio, so does Thomas have a couple of racks hanging heavy with vintage clothes in the corner of her studio.

Thomas situates her subjects in a meticulously detailed - and very '70s - environment. This retro backdrop actually exists in the back of her space: an installation complete with wood paneling, upholstered furniture, and fake fruit. It's all made to look like the kind of rooms that Thomas - who was born in Camden, New Jersey - sees in the homes of her family. "The sense of play is really important to me," she says. "A meditative process of putting [the scene] together feeds the work. So by the time I get to the paintings, I already know what I want to do." Thomas hires models or invites relatives (sometimes using herself as a subject) into the space, photographs them, makes collages, then starts on the paintings themselves. More often than not, they are decorated with thousands of rhinestones. "I feel like the rhinestones in my paintings are like that really glossy lipstick that women wear," she says. "It's another level of masking, of dressing up ... black people will go so far to overdress on some occasions, just to be noticed."

Theatrical and dynamic, the resulting character studies hum with an undercurrent of sexuality. "I think how a woman navigates her sexuality throughout the world allows her to be who she really is," she says. "That's one of the most powerful things that distinguishes a woman from a man-[women] exude a really strong, charismatic sexuality. They know how to use it as a sense of power."

Unbelievably, for an artist whose work caused collectors at London's Pulse art fair in 2007 to hurry across the floor to buy it when the doors opened (one piece sold for $50,000), Thomas's show at Lehmann Maupin is her first solo exhibit in New York City. "It was really important to me to align myself with a gallery that [thinks] beyond my cultural identity. To be honest, my work does better in Europe than here, and the read there is always very related to art history." She smiles, and gazes out of the window at the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. "Here, it's always related to my identity."