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Mickalene Thomas & Kara Walker

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Mickalene Thomas
B. 1971, Camden, New Jersey. Lives and works in New York.

From Andrea Andersson, The Helis Foundation Chief Curator of Visual Arts, Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans:

In 2010, the Museum of Modern Art commissioned a photograph by Mickalene Thomas (and later exhibited it at MoMA PS1). It was staged in the museum’s sculpture garden and reimagined Édouard Manet’s Le déjeuner sur l’herbe (1863). Thomas’s Le déjeuner sur l’herbe: Les trois femmes noires (2010) depicts three glamorous black women dressed in high fashion, against the dramatic backdrop of the iconic museum.
Thomas views herself as a painter, but all of her paintings begin with photographs and studies of her subjects—family, friends, former lovers, her partner—often set against stylized backdrops of living-room interiors like those of her childhood. Thomas’s paintings are historical interventions that trace intimate relationships between her practice, the formal radicality of modernism, and its outright plunder of Africa.
In fall 2018, the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto opened its second solo exhibition by a woman of color in the museum’s history, entitled “Mickalene Thomas: Femmes Noires.” At the opening, extra security was called: Visitors to the exhibition, predominantly young black women, were getting too close to the canvases. They were taking selfies, forging identities, and insinuating themselves through photography into Thomas’s history of art.
Kara Walker
B. 1969, Stockton, California. Lives and works in New York.

From Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw, Associate Professor and Undergraduate Chair, History of Art, University of Pennsylvania:

African American women artists and intellectuals have always had to fight hard to realize their goals, especially when their work has been politically radical or dissented from cultural norms. Kara Walker’s production over the past 25 years illustrates this challenge. It has been both irreverent and provocative. It has flaunted cultural mores and pushed the limits of community standards. In so doing, Walker has made us reconsider our relationships to and our understanding of the myths and histories that she so deftly explores in her silhouettes, drawings, films, and installations.

artsy.net

African American Art 97.jpg

African American Art 98.jpg

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