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Mickalene Thomas
Mickalene Thomas
Mickalene Thomas
Mickalene Thomas
Mickalene Thomas
Mickalene Thomas

Mickalene Thomas

116 pages
Published:   January 29, 2019
Non-Fiction  /  Queer Lit  /  Art & Architecture
Hardcover:   9781773101231    $40.00
Published by Goose Lane Editions with Art Gallery of Ontario

Mickalene Thomas's vivid paintings, collages, and photographs explode off the wall. Their larger-than-life women stare back and down at the viewer, confronting them head on. Over the course of her prolific career, Thomas has created a body of work that expands notions of beauty, gender, sexuality, and race, offering a complex vision of what it means to be a Black woman.

In Femmes Noires, Thomas moves breezily between pop culture and the long history of Western and African art, inserting images of Black women into iconic paintings. At times she poses them nude; at other times, she draws on elements as diverse as 1970s black-is-beautiful images of women, Edouard Mamet's odalisque figures, the mise-en-scène studio portraiture of James Van Der Zee and Malick Sidibé, and her own collection of personal portraits and staged scenes. Her ability to detect and contain contradictions and to wrestle with stereotypes translates into powerful, self-possessed depictions of Black women that confront and subvert stereotypes.

Femmes Noires is a bold examination of Thomas's work and her artistic practise at an important moment in history. It blends writing from iconic Black writers and essayists (Alice Walker, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Edwidge Danticat, and Lorraine O’Grady) with 120 reproductions from Thomas's oeuvre (collages, paintings, film stills, and photographs). Original essays by Andrea Andersson, visual arts curator of the Contemporary Art Center of New Orleans; Julie Crooks, curator at the Art Gallery of Ontario; and writer-art critic Antwaun Sargent complete the book.

Mickalene Thomas: Femmes Noires accompanies an international touring exhibition organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Contemporary Art Centre in New Orleans..
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Andrea Andersson is visual arts curator of the Contemporary Art Center of New Orleans.

Julie Crooks is a curator at the Art Gallery of Ontario.


"[Thomas] boldly undoes art history’s canon of white, European representation through her juxtaposition and manipulation of images." — Canadian Art

"Forces you to stop and wonder why you’ve never seen anything like it before." — NOW Toronto

"That is Mickalene Thomas's superpower: making visible the women who have not only been historically forgotten and marginalized in the history of Western art but also remain excluded from contemporary art institutions." — CBC Arts