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The Year of Mickalene

Melissa Starker, Creative Content & PR Manager

Mon, Oct 29, 2018

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Now on view exclusively at the Wex, Mickalene Thomas: I Can't See You Without Me is the artist's largest American survey to date, and it's just one highlight in a year full of accomplishments for her. Below, we run down what else has been happening with Mickalene in 2018.

• In January, it was announced that Mickalene and partner Racquel Chevremont would co-organize the Curated Section of the contemporary art fair Volta New York, held in March. Entitled The Aesthetics of Matter, the exhibition featured artists such as Tomashi JacksonChristie Neptune, and Kameelah Janan Rasheed.

• February brought the opening of Figuring History at the Seattle Museum of Art, a show of Mickalene's work alongside Kerry James Marshall and Robert Colescott, focused on artists who redefine history painting in a contemporary context.

• In April, Mickalene was the honoree of the 23rd annual Tribeca Ball to benefit the New York Academy of Art and a new scholarship program created in the artist's name. Her work provided inspiration for Electric Palace, a one-night, all-female exhibition at the gala of work exploring feminine sexuality. The guest list included Julianne Moore, Kehinde Wiley, and event co-chair Naomi Watts

Vice Garage partnered with Mickalene in May for a stunning portfolio of fashion pics featuring Racquel and artist Zachary Richardson. (Two months later, photographer Juergen Teller would be dogged by charges of borrowing Mickalene's signature aesthetic for a December '17 Vogue shoot with Rihanna)

• Mickalene's work with the fashion world continued with the debut earlier this month of her photo spread and cover of the incomparable Cardi B for W Magazine.

• The New York Times presented two more opportunities for Mickalene to work with great contemporary artists for October, handing her portrait duties for profiles on Carrie Mae Weems and Moonlight director Barry Jenkins.

• Also this month, Racquel was photographed by Mickalene for a Harper's Bazaar feature interview with curator and activist Kimberly Drew.

• Rounding out the month of October, Mickalene opened her touring exhibitions Muse: Mickalene Thomas Photographs and tête-a-tête at the Dayton Art Institute, she was honored at ICP Spotlights, the annual benefit for the International Center of Photography, and she was one of 11 women artists tapped by Dior to put her own stamp on the Lady Dior handbag. As she noted with a laugh to Women's Wear Daily, “It’s the one part of my work that you can touch." 

Above: Mickalene Thomas and Racquel Chevremont at the exhibition preview of Mickalene Thomas: I Can't See You Without Me at the Wex on September 13, 2018; photo: Katie Spengler