In Conversation: Mickalene Thomas and Jennifer Blessing
Wednesday, September 30
This event is free for students with ID and Aperture Members at the $50 level and above.
Aperture Foundation, in collaboration with the Department of Photography at Parsons The New School for Design, is pleased to present Mickalene Thomas in conversation with curator Jennifer Blessing. Thomas’s upcoming Aperture book, Muse: Mickalene Thomas Photographs, will be available for preorder at the event. Thomas is a multidisciplinary visual artist and filmmaker, best known for large-scale portraits, landscapes, and interiors that combine art-historical, political, and pop-cultural references to present complex notions of femininity and beauty. The photographic image has been a defining touchstone for her practice since she began to photograph herself and her mother while studying at Yale. In the years since, her photography has functioned to deconstruct and recontextualize her artistic influences, as well as the cultural material constituting identity.
Mickalene Thomas earned her BFA in painting from Pratt Institute in 2000 and MFA from Yale University School of Art in 2002. Thomas completed residencies at the Studio Museum in Harlem (2000–2003) and the Versailles Foundation Munn Artists Program, Giverny, France (2011). Her work has been included in numerous exhibitions worldwide, including at La Conservera, Ceutí, Spain; National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.; Hara Museum, Tokyo; Santa Monica Museum of Art; and Brooklyn Museum. Her work can be found in the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum, Detroit Institute of Arts, Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Seattle Art Museum, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, and many others. She is represented by Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong; Kavi Gupta Gallery, Chicago and Berlin; Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects; and Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris and Brussels.
Jennifer Blessing is senior curator of photography at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. She organized the New York presentation of Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of Photography and Video (2014), an exhibition that originated at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville. In 2012, she co-organized Rineke Dijkstra: A Retrospective, as well as the Guggenheim’s presentation of SFMoMA’s exhibition Francesca Woodman. Other shows include Haunted: Contemporary Photography/Video/Performance (2010), and Catherine Opie: American Photographer (2008). Her most recent exhibition, Photo-Poetics: An Anthology, opens this November.
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, New York State Council on the Arts with support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Charina Endowment Fund, William Talbott Hillman Foundation, Inc., and the Board of Trustees and Members of Aperture Foundation.
Image: Mickalene Thomas, Negress #3, 2005