Muse: Mickalene Thomas

Photographs

Photographs by Mickalene Thomas and Mickalene Thomas. Authored by Mickalene Thomas.

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Mickalene Thomas, known for her large-scale, multitextured and rhinestone-encrusted paintings of domestic interiors and portraits, identifies the photographic image as a defining touchstone for her practice. Thomas began to photograph herself and her mother as a student at Yale, studying under David Hilliard—a pivotal experience for her as an artist. This volume is the first to gather together her various approaches to photography, including portraits, collages, Polaroids and other processes. The work is a personal act of deconstruction and reappropriation. Working primarily in her studio, Thomas’ portraits draw equally from memories of her mother, 1970s black-is-beautiful images of women such as supermodel Beverly Johnson and actress Vonetta McGee, Édouard Manet’s odalisque figures and the mise-en-scène studio portraiture of James Van Der Zee and Malick Sidibé. The interior space of her studio, a reappearing character in many of her photographs and paintings, frequently takes on as much of a performative role as her models do. The space exudes a thick, cozy physicality from its layers of fur, rugs, wood paneling and multipatterned linoleum tiles—all of which are richly laden with sensory triggers of a 1970s American rumpus room.

Details

Format: Hardback
Number of pages: 120
Publication date: 11-24-2015
Measurements: 13.1 x 10.2 x 0.8 inches
ISBN: 9781597113144

Press

The large-scale portraits in Muse: Mickalene Thomas Photographs (Aperture) which publishes this autumn, combines aspects of classical odalisque paintings with those of fashion photography of the 1970s Black is Beautiful-era (when her mother was a model), among other influences, to examine race, sexuality, the artist’s gaze, and the construction of images.Advocate
Like a combination of Malick Sidibé’s studio portraits of Milian youth and ‘70s blaxploitation films, Mickalene Thomas’s photographs of black women are visually dynamic and positively genuine.Art News
Provides the first overview of her dazzling series of photographs featuring black womenHarper’s Bazaar
Thomas revels in a theatrical form of feminine display.The New Yorker photo booth
Mama Bush’s beauty is indelibly preserved in her daughter’s ideal photographic images, enduring memorials to her mother, the pivotal muse in her work, her mirror reflecting a gaze between two women, and the self.The New Yorker photo booth
Thomas is a playful and intense explorer of the self-preservation of beautiful women.The New York Times Magazine
The black skin of these glammed-up superheroes is often the only thing in these photos that is not a riot of ornament and color, but blackness as photographed by Thomas is a riot all its own.The New York Times Magazine
She’s created a vast body of portraits that critically deconstruct definitions of beauty, race, and gender—specifically for black women&mdash:and redefine them on her own terms The New York Times

Contributors
Photographs by Mickalene Thomas and Mickalene Thomas. Authored by Mickalene Thomas.

Mickalene Thomas earned her BFA in painting at Pratt Institute in 2000 and an MFA at the Yale University School of Art in 2002. Thomas participated in residencies at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, 2000–3, and at the Versailles Foundation Munn Artists Program, Giverny, France, 2011. Her work has been included in countless exhibitions worldwide, including at La Conservera, Ceutí, Spain (2009); National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C. (2010); Hara Museum, Tokyo (2011), Santa Monica Museum of Art, California (2012); and Brooklyn Museum (2012–13). She is represented by Lehmann Maupin in New York, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, and Galerie Nathalie Obadia in Paris.
Mickalene Thomas earned her BFA in painting at Pratt Institute in 2000 and an MFA at the Yale University School of Art in 2002. Thomas participated in residencies at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, 2000–3, and at the Versailles Foundation Munn Artists Program, Giverny, France, 2011. Her work has been included in countless exhibitions worldwide, including at La Conservera, Ceutí, Spain (2009); National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C. (2010); Hara Museum, Tokyo (2011), Santa Monica Museum of Art, California (2012); and Brooklyn Museum (2012–13). She is represented by Lehmann Maupin in New York, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, and Galerie Nathalie Obadia in Paris.

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