Mickalene Mania

Mickalene Thomas - Sleep: Deux Femmes Noires, 2012
Mickalene Thomas, Sleep: Deux Femmes Noires, 2012

This holiday season I have fallen in love with the work of Brooklyn-based artist Mickalene Thomas. Her strong, often embellished-aesthetic seems the perfect fit to celebrate the start of 2013. I have grown to love her collage-inspired paintings and I see so much of Pam Grier circa her Foxy Brown days in Mickalene’s portraits. You may also recognize the background in Din, Une Très Belle Négresse #2 (pictured below, right) from Mickalene’s Nancy Gonzalez bag she customized for the TWOxTWO auction in October; previously featured in Croc for a Cause.

Mickalene Thomas - Qusuquzah, Une Très Belle Négresse #2, 2011–12. and Din, Une Très Belle Négresse #2, 2012
Mickalene Thomas, Qusuquzah, Une Très Belle Négresse #2, 2011–12. and Din, Une Très Belle Négresse #2, 2012

Not only does Ms.Thomas currently have a show running at the Brooklyn Museum, Mickalene Thomas: Origin of the Universe – closing January 20th – but her work is also on display in a two-gallery exhibition at Lehmann Maupin in New York City. Both shows are entitled Mickalene Thomas: How to Organize a Room Around A Striking Piece of Art and will be on view through January 5th. Before I left the city for the holidays I had a gallery day and visited both Lehmann Maupin locations at 540 West 26th Street and 201 Chrystie Street. It was quite a treat to view Ms.Thomas’ portraits and short film in Chelsea and to see her large-scale landscapes and interior scenes at the Lower East Side location.

Mickalene Thomas - Interior Monet's Blue Foyer, 2012
Mickalene Thomas, Interior: Monet’s Blue Foyer, 2012

Mickalene Thomas - Jessica Chastain W Magazine
Mickalene Thomas Jessica Chastain Cover, W Magazine, January 2013

Mickalene has been getting a tremendous amount of press over the past few months, most recently in the January 2013 Art and Fashion issue of W Magazine. Actress Jessica Chastain models in four art-inspired covers, one of which (pictured above) was inspired by Ms.Thomas’ work. The accompanying spread (pictured below) shows Chastain posing in a setup similar to Thomas’ Untitled Room Installation at Lehmann Maupin’s Chelsea location.

Mickalene Thomas - Jessica Chastain W Magazine
Jessica Chastain, W Magazine, January 2013

Mickalene Thomas - Louis Vuitton SS10
Louis Vuitton SS10

W Magazine styled Chastain in current looks by Versace and Lavin for the Thomas-inspired shoot, but I can’t help but see Louis Vuitton SS10 (pictured above) and Marc Jacobs SS11 (pictured below) when looking at her work. While I did covet Louis Vuitton’s foxtail keychains from SS10 for a short time, Marc’s SS11 collection is still one of my favorites to date. Fingers crossed Mickalene is on Marc’s radar for a future collaboration. My mind goes wild dreaming of what Ms.Thomas could do with free reign of the LV and MJ archives.

Mickalene Thomas - Marc Jacobs SS11
Marc Jacobs SS11

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