Mickalene Thomas

Installation Views

b. 1971, Camden, New Jersey Lives and works in Brooklyn

New York-based artist Mickalene Thomas (b. 1971, USA) is best known for her elaborate paintings composed of rhinestones, acrylic and enamel. Thomas introduces a complex vision of what it means to be a woman and expands common definitions of beauty. Her work stems from her long study of art history and the classical genres of portraiture, landscape, and still life.


Inspired by various sources that range from the 19th century Hudson River School to Edouard Manet, Henri Matisse and Romare Bearden, she continues to explore notions of beauty from a contemporary perspective infused with the more recent influences of popular culture and Pop Art.

Solo Exhibitions

2019 Mickalene Thomas: decuverte, Baldwin Gallery, Aspen, CO

Mickalene Thomas: Better Nights, The Bass Miami Beach Contemporary Art Museum

Mickalene Thomas: A Moment’s Pleasure, Baltimore Museum of Art.

Femmes Noires, Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans, LA

Mickalene Thomas: Jet: beautés du mois, Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris

2018 Femmes Noires, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, ON

The Dayton Art Institute,

Mickalene Thomas: I Can’t See you Without Me, Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH

Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, WA

Muse: Mickalene Thomas Photographs and tête-à-tête, Pomona College Museum of Art, Claremont, CA

2017 Mickalene Thomas: Waiting On A Prime-Time Star, Moody’s Centre for The Arts, Houston, TX

Mickalene Thomas: Mentors, Muses, and Celebrities, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, St. Louis, MO

Mickalene Thomas: Mentors, Muses, and Celebrities, Spelman College Museum of Fine Arts, Atlanta, GA

Mickalene Thomas: Waiting on a Prime-Time Star, Newcomb Art Museum of Tulane, New Orleans, LA

Muse: Mickalene Thomas Photographs and tête-à-tête, Georgia Museum of Art, Athens, GA

Do I Look Like a Lady? (Comedians and Singers), Art Basel Unlimited, Basel, Switzerland

2016 Suzanne Vielmetter, Los Angeles, CA

Mickalene Thomas: The Desire of The Other, Lehmann Maupin, New York, NY

Mickalene Thomas: Do I Look Like a Lady?, MOCA, Los Angeles, CA

Lehmann Maupin, Hong Kong, China

Mickalene Thomas: Five on the Black Hand SideMOCA Grand, Los Angeles, CA

Mickalene Thomas: Mentors, Muses and Celebrities, Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, CO

Muse: Mickalene Thomas Photographs and tête-à-tête, Aperture Foundation, New York, NY

Mickalene Thomas: What it Means to be Beautiful, Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, Toronto, Canada

Mickalene Thomas: I am your sister, Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Brussels, Belgium
Mickalene Thomas: MUSE, Rivington Place, London
Mickalene Thomas, Giverny, Jepson Center, Telfair Museums, Savannah, GA

Mickalene Thomas: Untitled, Queens Museum of Art, Corona, NY

I was born to do great things, Kavi Gupta, Chicago, IL
Femme au divan I, Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris, France
Femme au divan II, l’Ecole des Beaux Art, Monaco
Tête de Femme, Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York
Mickalene Thomas: Happy Birthday to a Beautiful Woman, George Eastman House, Rochester, NY

How to Organize a Room Around A Striking Piece of Art, Lehmann Maupin, New York, NY
Mickalene Thomas, The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA
Origin of the Universe, Santa Monica Museum of Art, Santa Monica, CA; Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY

More Than Everything, Lehmann Maupin, New York, NY
Mickalene Thomas – Mama Bush: One of a Kind Two, Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan

Put A Little Sugar In My Bowl, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Los Angeles, CA

Mickalene Thomas: Le déjeuner sur l’herbe: Les Trois Femmes Noires, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY

Mickalene Thomas, Alumni Achievement Award Exhibition, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY
Something You Can Feel, La Conservera Contemporary Art Space, Ceuti, Spain
She’s Come UnDone!, Lehmann Maupin, New York

Girlfriends, Lovers, Still Lifes and Landscape, Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, IL
What’s Love Got To Do With It?, Bloom Projects, Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, CA

An Imitation of Love, Brawlin’ Spitfire Two, Project Room, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Los Angeles, CA

Something About You…, Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, IL
Brawlin’ Spitfire, The Proposition Special Project, Dust Gallery, Las Vegas, NV

Group Exhibitions

2019Orlando, Aperture Gallery, New York, NY, Guest Curated by Tilda Swinton

2018Where We Meet, Inman Gallery, Houston, TX

Contemporary Magic : A Tarot Deck Art Project, ART CAPSUL, New York, NY

Figuring History: Robert Colescott, Kerry James Marshall, Mickalene Thomas, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA


Rise Up! Social Justice in Art from the J. Michael Bewley Collection, San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA

Kinship: Celebrating 10 Years of Jessica Silverman Gallery, Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco, CA

Interventions, Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York, NY

Everyday Muse, ltd los angeles, Los Angeles, LA

Multiply, Identify Her, International Center of Photography (ICP) Museum, New York, NY


2017Contemporary Magic, The Untitled Space, New York, NY

Polaroids: The Disappearing, Nathalie Karg Gallery, New York, NY

The Coffins of Paa Joe and the Pursuit of Happiness, Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, NY

Body of Work, The Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu, HI

Exposition d’été, Galerie Nathalie Obadia- Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium

Woman With a Camera, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago, IL

Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon, new Museum, New York, NY

Group Exhibition: 40 Years Part 2: Gender. Race. Identity, Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, IL

In Living Color: Andy Warhol and Contemporary Printmaking from the Collection of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation, Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, Jacksonville, FL
Unsuspending Disbelief, Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
REMIX: Themes and Variations in African-American Art, Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia, SC
30 Americans, Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, OH
Be My Guest: The Art of Interiors, No Longer Empty, New York, NY
A Decade of Collecting Prints, Drawings, and Photographs, Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO
HAUTE HIP-HOP, projects + gallery, St. Louis, MO

Repossession:Kader Attia, Tim Rollins and K.O.S., and Mickalene Thomas, Lehmann Maupin, New York NY

For Freedoms, Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, NY

Belief + Doubt: Selections from the Francie Bishop Good and David Horvitz Collection, NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Modern Heroics: 75 Years of African-American Expressionism, Newark Museum , Newark, NJ

First Light: A Decade of Collecting at the ICA, ICA Boston,  Boston, MA

“BIG”, Bill Hodges Gallery, New York, NY

30 Americans, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI
No Man’s Land: Women Artists from the Rubell Family Collection, Rubell Family Collection, Miami, FL
Self-Proliferation, Girls’ Club Collection, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Pratt Institute Alumni Exhibition 2015, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY
US IS THEM, Pizzuti Collection, Columbus, OH
A Room of One’s Own, Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York, NY
Speaking Back | Curated by Natasha Becker, Goodman Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
Eye Pop: The Celebrity Gaze, Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.
Pops Stars! Popular Culture and Contemporary Art, 21c Museum Hotel, Durham, NC
ReSignifications: European Blackmoors, Africana Re-Stagings, Sala D’Arme; San Firenze in Palazzo Vecchio; the Medici Palazzo; Villa La Pietra, Florence, Italy
Portraits and Other Likenesses from SFMOMA, Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco, CA
As We See It: Selected Works from the Danny Simmons Collection, African American Art Museum, Philadelphia, PA
Future Seasons Past, Lehmann Maupin, New York, NY
Piece by Piece: Building a Collection, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas


Speaking of People: Ebony, Jet, and Contemporary Art, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY
Post Pop: East Meets West, Saatchi Gallery, London, UK
Beyond the Classical: Imagining the Ideal Across Time, National Academy Museum, New York, NY
Burn with Desire: Glamour in Photography and Film, Ryerson Image Center, Toronto, Canada
Rauschenberg: Collecting & Connecting, Nasher Museum of Art, Duke University, Durham, NC
GIRL curated by Pharrel Williams, Galerie Perrotin, Paris, France
Pop Departures, Seattle Museum of Art, Seattle, WA
Bash II, Kleinert/James Gallery, Woodstock, NY
Expanding the Field of Painting, ICA Boston, Boston, MA
Reflect, Cut, Construct, Wallach Art Gallery, Columbia University, New York, NY
Aljira at 30, Dream and Reality, New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, NJ
Aspects of the Self: Portraits of Our Times, Center for the Arts, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
Domestic Unrest, Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London, England
Aftershock: The Impact of Radical Art, Edelman Arts, New York, NY
30 Americans, Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans, LA
The International Biennial of Contemporary Art of Cartegena de Indias, Cartagena de Indias, Colombia
Shakti, Brand New Gallery, Milan, Italy

Show and Tell: Calder Jewelry and Mobiles, Salon 94, New York, NY
Expanding the Field of Painting, The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, MA
Posing Beauty, The College of Wooster Art Museum, Wooster, OH; Spelman College, Atlanta, GA
Seven Sisters, Karen Jenkins Gallery, San Francisico, CA
Glyphs: Acts of Inscription, Pitzer College, Claremont, CA
Amor Fati, Pioneer Works Center for Art and Innovation, Brooklyn, NY
Du Bois In Our Time, University Museum of Contemporary Art, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA
tête-à-tête, QF Gallery, East Hampton, NY
Body Language, Studio Museum Harlem, New York, NY
Desire, Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York, NY
30 Americans, Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI; Frist Center for Visual Arts, Nashville, TN
Personal, Political, Mysterious, Flag Art Foundation, New York, NY; Lora Reynolds Gallery, Austin, TX
Décopolis: The Talent of Others, The Proposition, Brooklyn, NY
March On, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, NY

Twisted Sisters, Dodge Gallery, New York, NY
Nailed, Subliminal Projects, Los Angeles, CA
Histories: The Sheldon Permanent Collection, Sheldon Museum of Art, Lincoln, NE
Re-Framing the Feminine, Girls’ Club: Fort Lauderdale, FL
30 Americans, Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA
Look Now: Modern and Contemporary Work from Private Collections, Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, NJ
Room In My Head: Staging Psychological Spaces, Gutstein Gallery, Savanah College of Art and Design, Savanah, GA
Bling, Jim Kempner, New York, NY
Posing Beauty, Everhart Museum, Scranton, PA; Figge Museum of Art, Davenport, IO
28 Days, Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON

Body Gesture, Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Portland, OR
Who, What, Wear: Selections from the Permanent Collection, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY
The Bearden Project, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY
Re-Framing the Feminine, Girls’ Club, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Melody mania, RH Gallery, New York, NY
30 Americans, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Histories: The Sheldon Permanent Collection, Sheldon Museum of Art, Lincoln, NE
Becoming: Photos From The Wedge Collection, Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, NC
AFRICOLOR, Danziger Projects, New York, NY
EAT ME!, Goodman Gallery, Woodstock, Cape Town, South Africa
Beyond Bling, Ringling Museum, Sarasota, FL
A Room of Her Own, Lu Magnus Gallery, New York, NY
Surface Value, Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, IA
Converging Voices/ Transforming Dialogue: Selections from the Elliot and Kimberly Perry Collection, University Museum,
Texas Southern University, Houston, TX
Recent Acquisitions: Prints and Photographs, New York Public Library, New York, NY
Building the Contemporary Collection: Five Years of Acquisitions, Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, NC
Seeing Now: Photography Since 1960, Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD
The Way We Are Now: Selections from the 21c Collection, Cincinnati Museum of Art, Cincinnati, OH
Stargazers: Elizabeth Catlett in Conversation with 21 Contemporary Artists, Bronx Museum, Bronx, NY
American Dream, DZ Bank Kunstsammlung, Frankfurt, Germany
Images from a Floating World: 18th and 19th Century Japanese Erotic Prints and the Echo in Modern Contemporary Art, Fredericks & Freiser Gallery, New York, NY
The Truth is Not in the Mirror, Haggerty Museum, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI; Illinois State University: University
Galleries, College of Fine Art, Normal, IL
Safety in Numbers? Images of African American Identity and Community, Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR
Posing Beauty, Newark Museum, Newark, NJ; University of Southern California Fisher Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA

Annual Exhibition 2010-2011, Brodsky Center for Innovative Editions, New Brunswick, NJ
XX-XY/Gender Representation in Art, Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando, FL
Now WHAT?, Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, FL
Sharon Stone in Abuja, Location One, New York, NY
Contemporary Magic: A Tarot Deck Art Project, National Arts Club, New York, NY; Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA
Summer Surprises, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA
4 Eccentrics, The Proposition, New York, NY
ART in Embassies Exhibition, United States Mission to the United Nations, New York, NY
40, Texas Gallery, Houston, TX
Inside the Collection: Interiors from the Studio Museum, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY
Global Africa Project, Museum of Art and Design, New York, NY
Inspired Curated by Beth Rudin DeWoody, Steven Kasher Gallery, New York, NY
Americans Now, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C.
Collected: Reflections on the Permanent Collection, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY
Shrew’d: The Smart & Sassy Survey of American Women Artists, Sheldon Museum of Art, Lincoln, NE
Pattern ID, Akron Art Museum, Akron, OH; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO
Searching for the Heart of Black Identity: Art and the Contemporary African American Experience, Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, Louisville, KY
Versus, Hous Projects, New York, NY
Posing Beauty, Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, MA; Art Gallery of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, Taubman Museum, Ranoake, VA

Landscape Revisited, Park Avenue Armory, New York, NY
Extended Family: Contemporary Connections, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY
Posing Beauty, New York University Tisch School of the Arts, New York, NY
Dress Codes: The Third ICP Triennial of Photography and Video, The International Center of Photography, New York, NY
Creating Identity: Portraits Today, 21C Museum, Louisville, KY
Black Is, Black Ain’t, The Artspace at the Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, MO
Undercover: Performing and Transforming Black Female Identities, The Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta, GA
First Look: An Exhibition of Emerging Artists from Los Angeles Galleries, House of Campari, Los Angeles, CA
Remix, Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco, CA
The Female Gaze: Women Looking At Women, Cheim and Read, New York, NY
Crash Proof, The Scholar and Feminist Online, Barnard Center for Research on Women, online exhibition
Elsewhere, Saltworks, Atlanta, GA
The Glamour Project, Lehmann Maupin, New York, NY
CAN & DID – Graphics, Art, and Photography from the Obama Campaign, Danziger Projects, New York, NY

30 Americans, Rubell Family Collection, Miami, FL
Group Show, Andréhn-Schiptjenko, Stockholm, Sweden
Belle du Jour, Collette Blanchard Gallery, New York, NY
21: Selections of Contemporary Art from the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY
As Others See Us: The Contemporary Portrait, Brattleboro Museum and Art Center, Brattleboro, VT
The Other Mainstream II: Selections from the Collection of Mikki and Stanley Whithorn, Arizona State University Art Museum, Tempe, AZ
Becoming: Photographs from the Wedge Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit, MI
City Stage, New Orleans Contemporary Art Center, New Orleans, LA
Black Is, Black Ain’t, Renaissance Society, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Perverted by Theater, apexart, New York City, NY
Performed Identity, Kathleen Cullen Fine Arts, New York City, NY

Sweet SweetBack’s Baadasssss Song, Von Lintel Gallery, New York, NY
Commemorating 30 Years 1976-2007, Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, IL
Distinctive Messenger, House of Campari, New York, NY
Sex in the City, Dumbo Arts Center, Brooklyn, NY
Taking Aim, Rhodes College, Memphis, TN
Some Kind of Portrait, Marc Selwyn Fine Art, Los Angeles, CA
Lava, Wedge Curatorial Projects, Toronto, Canada
Prime Time, Caren Golden Fine Art Gallery, New York, NY
My Love is a 187, Luggage Store Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Inspired in New York, Echo Gallery, New York, NY

Not An Ocean Between Us: Voices of Women From African and the African Diaspora, Winston Salem State University, Winston Salem, NC
Lag Time Line Up, Mumbo Jumbo Gallery, New York, NY
Materiality, Kravets/Wehby Gallery, New York, NY,
Wild Girls, Exit Art, New York, NY
The Pulse of New Brooklyn, MoCADA Museum, Brooklyn, NY
Do You Think I’m Disco, Longwood Art Gallery, Bronx, NY

NeoVernacular, Steve Turner Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Five Artists/Five Projects, Wertz Contemporary, Atlanta, GA
Frequency, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY
Tete-a-Tete, Greenberg Van Doren Gallery, New York, NY
Maximum Flavor, Atlanta College of Art Gallery, Atlanta, GA
Greater New York 2005, P.S.1/MoMA, Long Island City, NY
African Queen, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY

Me, Myself and I, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL
Glamour, Glory and Gold, The Proposition, New York, NY
Seeds and Roots, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY
It’s About Memory, Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, IL

Beauty, Kravets/Wehby Gallery, New York, NY
Pantone, Massimo Audiello Gallery, New York, NY
Because I’m Worth It, Chelsea Art Museum, New York, NY
Hands on Hands Down, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY

Why Don’t We Do It In The Road, Ambrosino Gallery, Miami, FL

Corridor Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
Elizabeth Stockel Battel Gallery, Norfolk, CT

Brush: 4min. Video, The Yellow Door Gallery, NY
The Knitting Factory, New York, NY
Downtown Community Television Center, New York, NY



Meet the Artist: Mickalene Thomas on Her Materials and Artistic Influences (Courtesy of Smithsonian American Art Museum)

The Aesthetics of Matter | VOLTA NY 2018 Curated Section: Curated by Mickalene Thomas and Racquel Chevremont


Mickalene Thomas in conversation with Solange Knowles and Naomi Beckwith at Soho House Chicago, September 2015.