The Yale School of Art announces the appointment of Mickalene Thomas as the 2020 Presidential Visiting Fellow in Fine Arts. Stavros Niarchos Foundation Dean Marta Kuzma notes: “We are honored to have Mickalene Thomas join the Yale School of Art faculty throughout 2020 as a black feminist artist whose practice contributes to the evolving conversation around post-blackness, sexuality and power. She is a fierce mentor who has supported emerging queer black artists, through fostering critical conversations and assisting with professional development.”
In a practice that spans from painting, collage, and photography to video and installation, Mickalene Thomas creates art historically-informed work that recasts the central protagonists as women of color in the creation of a new art history that references both the civil rights movement and second wave feminism. Thomas explores pictorial strategies around African American women. Charlotte Burns, the executive editor of In Other Words, writes that Mickalene Thomas’ “genre-busting work takes many forms, and grapples with bodies and their desires, with power, equity and identity.”
Further, Mickalene Thomas’ mentor work reaches past the subject matter of her practice into real-world action. In March 2018, Thomas with art consultant Racquel Chevremont founded Deux Femmes Noires, a mentorship program which aims to increase visibility and opportunities for artists of color. The program launched with a collage show co-curated by Thomas and Chevremont at VOLTA New York in 2018 entitled The Aesthetics of Matter, which featured work by Tomashi Jackson, Christie Neptune, Devin Morris, Troy Michie, David Shrobe, Kennedy Yanko, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, and Didier William. This year Thomas and Chevremont, alongside artist Nina Chanel Abney and writer Jet Toomer, established the Josie Club, a collective for queer women from the African Diaspora. Established to “create a safe communal space” through which queer artists of color can support one another while honoring both individual and collective forms of legacy and agency, the Josie Club aims to build spaces where queer women from the African Diaspora can be recognized for their achievements.
Mickalene Thomas is a New York based distinguished visual artist, filmmaker and curator that works in various mediums. She received her MFA from the Yale School of Art, BFA from Pratt Institute. She is a recipient of the 2019 Meyerhoff-Becker Biennial Commission at the Baltimore Museum, a 2015 United States Artists Francie Bishop Good & David Horvitz Fellow, and is an alumnus of the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Versailles Foundation Munn Artists Program in Giverny. Thomas is a recipient of the Aperture Award, Anonymous Was A Woman Award, the 2012 Brooklyn Museum Asher B. Durand Award, Timerhi Award for Leadership in the Arts, the Joan Mitchell Grant and the Pratt Institute Alumni Achievement Award in 2009, and the Rema Hort Mann Grant in 2007. She’s exhibited at Brooklyn Museum, The Smithsonian Museum, MoMA PS1, Seattle Art Museum, SFMoMA, National Portrait Gallery, Baltimore Museum, The Bass Museum AGO Toronto, The Wexner Center and Aspen Museum. Her work is in the permanent collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, The Whitney Museum, The Guggenheim Museum, The National Portrait Gallery, Newark Museum, Seattle Art Museum, The Hara Museum, The Rubell Collection, The Studio Museum in Harlem, among other public and private institutions and collections. She is on the Board of the Brooklyn Museum of Trustees and MoMA PS1. Thomas has also previously served on the faculty of the Yale School of Art as a Critic in Painting/Printmaking, as well as frequented the School as a Visiting Artist. Thomas is currently exhibiting at CAC New Orleans with upcoming museum shows at the Baltimore Museum and the Bass Museum this year. She is represented by Kavi Gupta Gallery in Chicago and Nathalie Obadia in Paris.
Last edited by: Sarah Stevens-Morling
Edit access: Everybody