January 17, 2017

Mickalene Thomas: Waiting on Prime-Time Star

Newcomb Art Museum of Tulane University
Mickalene Thomas, Tamika sur une chaise longue avec Monet, 2012. Rhinestones, acrylic, oil, and enamel on wood panel, 108 x 144 inches. Collection of Walda and Sydney Besthoff. Courtesy of the artist, Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong, and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Tulane’s Newcomb Art Museum is proud to present Mickalene Thomas: Waiting on Prime-Time Star. On view January 18 through April 9, the exhibition brings together more than 40 of the artist’s works including paintings, photographs, collages, sculptures, film, and a site-specific installation that broadly engage the subject of portraiture.

Mickalene Thomas (b.1971) is a USA Fellow and acclaimed international artist known for her elaborate, lush works that celebrate the power of female beauty toward claiming women’s agency. Thomas combines historical artworks and pop cultural representations that define and reference fashion and domestic spaces through a queer lens.

“We are honored to present the first solo exhibition in New Orleans of work by Mickalene Thomas, an artist who presents poignant and powerful images of women and black women, in particular,” noted museum director Monica Ramirez-Montagut. “Her representations speak to women’s self-definition, which in today’s social-political climate has great urgency.”

Waiting on Prime-Time Star will also highlight Thomas’ creative process of working across different media, including photography, collage, painting, film, and installation. Utilizing such myriad strategies, she challenges portraiture’s divide between representation and abstraction while also offering a vocabulary for re-defining notions of femininity.

Ramirez-Montagut continues, “The artist’s use of diverse media will resonate with all audiences but with our campus community, in particular. Tulane has long advocated for intellectual exploration across discipline boundaries—the very approach Mickalene employs in her work.”

The show opens on Wednesday, January 18 with two events that are free and open to the public. Starting at 6:30pm, the artist will speak about her work in conversation with Dr. Mia Bagneris, Assistant Professor, History of Art, Tulane University. The talk is funded in part by the Sandra Garrard Memorial Fund for Recent Trends in Contemporary Art. The public reception will immediately follow.

Other exhibition-related events include a film series presenting Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (1971) on February 7; Cleopatra Jones (1973) on February 15; and Black Girl (1966) on March 12. Mickalene Thomas’ directorial debut film, Happy Birthday to a Beautiful Woman (2012) will also be shown on March 12. All screenings are free and open to the public.

About the Newcomb Art Museum
The Newcomb Art Museum of Tulane University builds on the Newcomb College legacy of education, social enterprise, and artistic experience. Presenting inspiring exhibitions and programs that engage communities both on and off campus, the museum fosters the creative exchange of ideas and cross-disciplinary collaborations around innovative art and design. The museum preserves and advances scholarship on the Newcomb and Tulane art collections. Free and open to public, the museum’s hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10am to 5pm; Saturday and Sunday 11am to 4pm; and by appointment.

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