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  • December 31, 1969 | 7:00 PM
    December 31, 1969
    7:00 PM

Mickalene Thomas

Born in Camden, NJ, 1971
Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY

Day 9: Mickalene Thomas

While exploring and challenging long-held notions of feminine beauty, Mickalene Thomas creates stupendously textured paintings through her sublime use of rhinestones, acrylic, and enamel. Sometimes she accompanies those painting with video installations that juxtapose Blaxploitation film imagery with that of classic Western European portraiture. 

Thomas’s influences range from historical figures such as Henri Matisse and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres to contemporary artists such as Carrie Mae Weems and Kara Walker. She also looks to 1970s Blaxploitation films and music legends such as Eartha Kitt, Bessie Smith, Sharon Jones, and Billie Holiday also inform Thomas’s works. Her love of music is apparent in the 2010 solo exhibition, Put A Little Sugar in My Bowl, which showed at Susanne Vielmetter Projects in Los Angeles and at Lehmann Maupin Gallery in New York.


Which singer never recorded "I Want a Little Sugar in My Bowl"?


2002 M.F.A., Painting, Yale University School of Art, New Haven, CT
2000 B.F.A., Painting, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY
1998 Southern Cross University, Lismore, Australia (2 semesters of coursework)

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2011 More Than Everything, Lehmann Maupin, New York, NY
Mickalene Thomas- Mama Bush: One of a Kind Two, Hara Musem of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan.
2010 Put a Little Sugar in My Bowl, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, CA.
2009 She’s Come UnDone! Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York, NY.
Mickalene Thomas, Alumni Achievement Award Exhibition, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY
Something You Can Feel, La Conservera Contemporary Art Space, Ceuti, Spain.
2008 Bloom Projects: Mickalene Thomas, What’s Love Got to Do With It?, Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts
Forum, Santa Barbara, CA
Girlfriends, Lovers, Still Lives and Landscapes, Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, IL
2007 An Imitation of Love, Brawlin’ Spitfire Two, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Culver City, CA
2006 Brawling Spitfire, Dust Gallery, Las Vegas, NV
Something about you…, Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, IL

Selected Group Exhibitions

2011 EAT ME!, Goodman Gallery, Woodstock, Cape Town, South Africa
Beyond Bling, Ringling Museum, Sarasota, FL
Building the Contemporary Collection: Five Years of Acquisitions, Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, NC.
Surface Value, Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, IA.
The Way We Are Now: Selections from the 21c Collection, Cincinnati Museum of Art, Cincinnati, OH.
Stargazers: Elizabeth Catlett in Conversation with 21 Contemporary Artists, Bronx Museum, Bronx, NY.
The Truth is Not in the Mirror,
Haggerty Museum, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI; Illinois State University: University Galleries, College of Fine Art, Normal, IL
Seeing Now: Photography Since 1960, Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD.
Safety in Numbers? Images of African American Identity and Community, Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR.
2010 XX-XY/Gender Representation in Art, Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando, FL.
Contemporary Magic: A tarot Deck Art Project, National Arts Club, New York, NY; Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA.
Summer Surprises, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA.
Art in Embassies Exhibition, United States Mission to the United Nations, New York, NY
Inside the Collection: Interiors from the Studio Museum, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY.
Global Africa Project, Museum of Art and Design, New York, NY.
Americans Now, National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.
Collected: Reflections on the Permanent Collection, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY.
2009 Extended Family: Contemporary Connections, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY.
Posing Beauty, New York Unviersity Tisch School of the Arts, New York, NY; Art Gallery of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, MA; Newark Museum, Newark, NJ; University of Southern California’s Fisher Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Everhart Museum, Scranton, PA.
Dress Codes: The Third ICP Triennial of PHotogrpahy and Video, The International Center of Photography, New York, NY.
2008 21: Selections of Contemporary Art from the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY.
City Stage, New Orleans Contemporary Art Center, New Orleans, LA.
2008 Black Is, Black Ain’t, The Renaissance Society at The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL [cat.]
2007 Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, Von Lintel Gallery, New York, NY
2006 Not an Ocean Between Us: Voices of Women from Africa and the African Diaspora, Diggs Gallery,
Winston-Salem State University, Winston-Salem, NC
2005 Frequency, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY [cat.]
Greater New York 2005, P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, NY [cat.]

Special Projects

2010 Le Déjeuner Sur l’Herbe: Les Trois Femmes Noires, The Modern Window at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Le Déjeuner Sur l’Herbe: Les Trois Femmes Noires, On-Site, MoMA P.S.1, Long Island City, NY

Selected Collections

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
Brooklyn Museum, New York, NY
The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY

30 Americans is organized by the Rubell Family Collection, Miami. The presenting sponsor at the Corcoran Gallery of Art is Altria Group.

Additional support has been provided by Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, an agency supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

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