Art & Culture

Coming Soon: First International Exhibition of Mickalene Thomas Opens at The Broad in Los Angeles Next Spring, Then Travels to Museums in Philadelphia and London



MICKALENE THOMAS (b. 1971), “Din avec la main dans le miroir et jupe rouge,” 2023 (rhinestones, acrylic and glitter on canvas mounted on wood panel, 90 x 110 inches /228.6 x 279.4 cm). | © Mickalene Thomas

 

A MAJOR TOURING EXHIBITION of Mickalene Thomas is launching next spring. “Mickalene Thomas: All About Love” opens at The Broad in Los Angeles on May 25, 2024, and runs through Sept. 29. Thomas’s dazzling, rhinestone-embellished paintings celebrate Black women and examine the complexities of Blackness and female identity. More than 80 works produced over the past 20 years will be on view, showcasing Thomas’s mastery and innovation across mixed-media painting, collage, installation, and photography.

The exhibition is co-organized by The Broad and Hayward Gallery in London, in partnership with the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, Pa. After the presentation at The Broad, the exhibition will travel to the Barnes Foundation (Oct. 20, 2024-Jan. 12, 2025) and Hayward Gallery (Feb. 10-May 5, 2025).

“Mickalene Thomas: All About Love” is the artist’s first major museum exhibition that will tour internationally. Each venue will present a unique version of the show and stops at additional institutions are expected to be added to the schedule.

“We are proud to launch this major exhibition in Los Angeles, a city with many individual and institutional supporters of Thomas’s work and a demonstrated commitment to her important voice in contemporary art,” said Ed Schad, curator at The Broad. “In collaboration with our partners, The Broad is excited to trace Thomas’s work over two decades, as it has aimed a loving and empowered lens towards a radical rethinking of many pivotal themes and crisis points in art history.”

Joanne Heyler, founding director of The Broad said: “Mickalene Thomas’s visionary artistic practice presents an unapologetic focus on Black female representation, amplifying portraiture’s capacity to capture authentic lived experience and relationships. Thomas’s work, while pushing conventional boundaries of technique and material, touches all aspects of culture and society, from notions of beauty to sexuality and politics, powerfully bringing visibility to those who have historically been excluded and marginalized in art history.”

“Thomas’s work, while pushing conventional boundaries of technique and material, touches all aspects of culture and society, from notions of beauty to sexuality and politics, powerfully bringing visibility to those who have historically been excluded and marginalized in art history.”
— Broad Founding Director Joanne Heyler


Mickalene Thomas. | Photo by Malike Sidibe

 

BORN IN NEW JERSEY, Thomas lives and works in Brooklyn, N.Y. Over the past two decades, she has built a singular practice that centers Black women and introduces new ways of seeing the Black female body. Thomas’s powerful vision explores contemporary notions of beauty, agency, female sexuality, and the tenets of Black feminist theory. Her work also engages modern art history, drawing on the influences of Romare Bearden, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Robert Rauschenberg.

Her work has been exhibited extensively in the United States and abroad, represented widely in public and private collections, and documented in several publications. Accompanying the forthcoming exhibition, a new fully illustrated catalog will include a conversation with the artist, conducted by Hayward Gallery Chief Curator Rachel Thomas, and essays by TK Smith, Assistant Curator: Art of the African Diaspora at the Barnes Foundation; Schad, The Broad curator; and several other contributors.

The title of the show, “Mickalene Thomas: All About Love,” is drawn from “All About Love: New Visions,” a critically acclaimed essay collection by bell hooks (1953-2021). The pivotal text was published in 2000, a formative period in Thomas’s academic development. She received a BFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn in 2000 and went on to earn an MFA from Yale University in 2002.

“The opportunity to showcase and tour my work across these leading art institutions marks a key milestone in my career as an artist. Each presentation uniquely navigates through the nuances of my work while cohesively investigating notions and topics at the core of my artistic practice,” said Thomas, 52. “I am grateful for this incredible platform staged in cultural epicenters in the U.S. and the UK and confident about the long-lasting impact of this show on a broader audience internationally.” CT

 

“Mickalene Thomas: All About Love” opens at The Broad in Los Angeles, May 25-Sept. 29, 2024 (curated by Ed Schad), then travels to the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, Pa., Oct. 20, 2024-Jan. 12, 2025 (curated by TK Smith), and Hayward Gallery in London, UK, Feb. 10-May 5, 2025 (curated by Rachel Thomas)

 


MICKALENE THOMAS (b. 1971), “Portrait of Maya No. 10,” 2017 (rhinestones and acrylic on canvas mounted on wood panel, 96 x 84 inches / 243.84 x 213.36 cm). | The Broad Art Foundation, © Mickalene Thomas

 

FIND MORE about Mickalene Thomas on her website and Instagram

 

FIND MORE Co-organized by the artist, “Mickalene Thomas / Portrait of an Unlikely Space” is currently on view at Yale University Art Gallery

FIND MORE about “Mickalene Thomas: Origin of the Universe,” a 10-year retrospective of Thomas organized by the Santa Monica Museum of Art (now ICA Los Angeles) in 2012, that traveled to the Brooklyn Museum

 

BOOKSHELF
A new catalog will accompany the international traveling exhibition, “Mickalene Thomas: All About Love.” The publication will include a conversation with Mickalene Thomas conducted by Hayward Gallery Chief Curator Rachel Thomas, and essays by Claudia Rankine, Darnell L. Moore, Ed Schad (The Broad), Beverly Guy-Sheftall, TK Smith (Barnes Foundation), and Christine Kim, that consider the artist’s “distinct visual vocabulary, drawing on themes of love, intergenerational female empowerment, and tenets of Black feminist theory.” “Mickalene Thomas / Portrait of an Unlikely Space” documents the artist’s exhibition currently on view at Yale University Art Gallery, her alma mater. A recent volume from Phaidon Press, “Mickalene Thomas” features essays by Roxane Gay and Kellie Jones. “Mickalene Thomas: Origin of the Universe” was published on the occasion of Thomas’s 10-year retrospective. Additional publications include “Muse: Mickalene Thomas: Photographs,” “Mickalene Thomas: Femmes Noires,” and “Mickalene Thomas: I Can’t See You Without Me.” Also consider, “Figuring History: Robert Colescott, Kerry James Marshall, Mickalene Thomas.”

 

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