PUBLISHER
Santa Monica Museum of Art

BOOK FORMAT
Clth, 11 x 9.5 in. / 80 pgs / 30 color / 35 bw.

PUBLISHING STATUS
Pub Date
Out of print

DISTRIBUTION
D.A.P. Exclusive
Catalog: SPRING 2012 p. 77   

PRODUCT DETAILS
ISBN 9780983967200 TRADE
List Price: $39.95 CDN $50.00

AVAILABILITY
Not available

EXHIBITION SCHEDULE

Santa Monica, CA
Santa Monica Museum of Art, 04/14/12-08/18/12

New York
Brooklyn Museum of Art, 09/28/12-01/20/13

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SANTA MONICA MUSEUM OF ART

Mickalene Thomas: Origin of the Universe

Edited by Lisa Melandri. Foreword by Elsa Longhauser, Arnold L. Lehman. Text by Sarah Lewis, Denise Murrell. Interview by Lisa Melandri.

Mickalene Thomas: Origin of the UniverseMickalene Thomas (born 1971) has won acclaim for her elaborate, colorful paintings of African-American women, often posed provocatively against rich, 1970s-themed backgrounds adorned with rhinestones, enamel and acrylics. Thomas draws from earlier traditions of portraiture to arrive at her contemporary sensibility. She engages with the tension between a personal investigation of eroticism, black femininity and beauty and a pop-cultural critique of the overt sexual imagery prevalent in the media--from Blaxploitation film heroines like Cleopatra Jones to the construction of middle-class, African-American taste in Ebony magazine. Her portraits of trans-generational female empowerment have been receiving attention far beyond the standard art-world venues and have been reproduced everywhere from The New Yorker to Bomb magazine. Thomas also reenvisions landscapes and interiors through playful and passionate recontextualizations of such artists as Romare Bearden, Édouard Manet, Henri Matisse and Balthus. Mickalene Thomas: The Origin of the Universe is the first monograph on the artist, and accompanies her first solo museum exhibition in the United States at the Santa Monica Museum of Art. It features a wide array of full-color reproductions of her work across media--much of it new and never before published--including photo collages and provocative landscapes, along with an interview with the artist and critical texts that elucidate her paintings’ investigations of femininity, sexuality and power, and provide extensive context for her oeuvre as a whole.

Featured image, "I Learned the Hard Way" (2010) is reproduced from Mickalene Thomas: Origin of the Universe.

PRAISE AND REVIEWS

The New York Times

Roberta Smith

Mickalene Thomas's brash, exuberant paintings don't care what you think of them; they are much too busy simply - or not so simply - being themselves. Their sense of independence is driven home by this artist's invigorating exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, along with the realization that the museum's populist program sometimes hits the nail on the head…
Enhanced by burning colors; outrageously tactile, rhinestone-studded surfaces; and fractured, almost Cubist perspectives, these images draw equally from 19th- and 20th-century French modernism, portrait painting, 1970s blaxploitation extravagance and an array of postwar pictorial styles.

Wallpaper*

The Editiors

Her work burrows liberally from art history: female poses from Manet; grid constructions from David Hockney; interiors from Matisse that are liberally jazzed up to a 1970s flamboyance with the swatches of fabrics she collages over furniture and walls.

Mickalene Thomas: Origin of the Universe

STATUS: Out of print | 00/00/00

For assistance locating a copy, please see our list of recommended out of print specialists

FROM THE BOOK
"Since the outset of her career, Mickalene Thomas has forged a creative process and pictorial style that reimagines past masterworks as vivid evocations of the contemporary moment. From her signature portraits of vibrant black women to an evolving series of landscapes and interiors, Thomas has manifested a discourse with a global artistic legacy spanning the modernizing turn in mid-nineteenth-century France, the visual strategies of postwar African American artists, and the meaning-laden processes and materials of transnational studio practice today.
The artist’s recent paintings underscore the degree to which she has posed the composite body of art history as her ultimate muse. It is her parrying engagement with anterior generations of artists that has induced her most sustained inspiration in developing a creative vision wholly her own."

Denise Murrell, excerpted from the chapter, "The Anterior as Muse: Recent Paintings by Mickalene Thomas".

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