Mickalene Thomas
Painter & Multimedia Artist
Brooklyn, NY
2015 USA Fellow

This award is generously supported by David Horvitz & Francie Bishop Good.

Mickalene Thomas is a distinguished visualist and filmmaker who has exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally since 2003. She is best known for combining art-historical, political, and pop-cultural references to create striking figurative and nonfigurative paintings. Her work stems from a long study of art history and classical genres of portraiture, introducing complex notions of femininity and challenging common definitions of beauty and aesthetic representation.Thomas’s first solo museum exhibition was in 2012 at the Brooklyn Museum and Santa Monica Museum of Art. Recent solo exhibitions include George Eastman House, New York; L’Ecole des Beaux Arts, Monaco; and First International Contemporary Art Biennial, Columbia. Her work has been shown in numerous group exhibitions, including at La Conservera Contemporary Art Center, Ceutí,Spain; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Hara Museum, Tokyo; National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC; and Saatchi Gallery, London. Thomas’s work is in the permanent collections of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Brooklyn Museum, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and Whitney Museum of American Art, as well as the Detroit Institute of Arts; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles;Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas; Seattle Art Museum; and Smithsonian American Art Museum, among many others.Mickalene Thomas is represented by Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong; Kavi Gupta Gallery, Chicago and Berlin; Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects; and Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris and Brussels. She was born in 1971 in New Jersey and lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

Portrait photo by Francois Meyer.
  • Better Days, 2013 Installation at The Volkshaus Galerie, Basel, Switzkerland. Courtesy of Mickalene Thomas and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Image is Copyright © Roberto Chamorro / Absolut Art Bureau.
  • Marie: Femme noire nue couchée, 2014 Courtesy of Mickalene Thomas, Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris and Brussels, and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Image is Copyright © Mickalene Thomas.
  • Untitled #12, 2015 Courtesy of Mickalene Thomas, Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong, and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Image is Copyright © Mickalene Thomas.