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Exhibition Catalogue: Mickalene Thomas: All About Love

A major survey chronicling Thomas’ vibrant, rhinestone-adorned paintings

New York–based artist Mickalene Thomas’ critically acclaimed and extensive body of work spans painting, collage, print, photography, video and immersive installations. With influences ranging from 19th-century painting to popular culture, Thomas’ art articulates a complex and empowering vision of womanhood while expanding on and subverting common definitions of beauty, sexuality, celebrity and politics. This major survey publication further affirms Thomas’ status as a key figure of contemporary art. It features notable works that are arranged in thematic chapters throughout the book.

The book also features an interview with the artist by Rachel Thomas, and is followed by essays from Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Darnell L. Moore, Claudia Rankine, Ed Schad, T.K. Smith and Christine Y. Kim, which cover her distinct visual vocabulary, drawing on themes of intergenerational female empowerment, autobiography, memory and tenets of Black feminist theory. In particular, they explore how Thomas subverts art history to reclaim the notions of repose, rest and leisure in works that celebrate self-expression and joy. For the artist, repose is a radical act, pointing to "what is able to happen once you have the agency."

Mickalene Thomas (born 1971) is an international, award-winning, multidisciplinary artist whose work has yielded instantly recognizable and widely celebrated aesthetic languages within contemporary visual culture. She is known for her elaborate portraits of Black women composed of rhinestones, acrylic and enamel.

Mickalene Thomas: All About Love will be on view at the Barnes Foundation from October 20, 2024 to January 12, 2025. Learn more about the special exhibition here


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