Mickalene Thomas: All About Love will be the first major international tour of this pioneering artist’s work whose influences range from 19th-century painting to popular culture. Co-organized by the Hayward Gallery, London, and The Broad, Los Angeles, and in partnership with the Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, All About Love will be shown as a series of independent presentations, with further venues to be confirmed.
Thomas’s art articulates a complex and empowering vision of self while expanding on and subverting common definitions of beauty, sexuality, celebrity, and politics. The show will highlight how Thomas has redefined contemporary ideas of portraiture and subjects, introducing new ways of seeing the female body and dissecting the complexities of Black and female identity within the Western canon.
Through her work, Thomas subverts art history to reclaim notions of love, desire, and repose. She draws on representations of intergenerational female empowerment, autobiography, memory and tenets of Black feminist theory in writing by authors and academics such as Kimberlé Crenshaw, Patricia Collins and bell hooks, whose acclaimed 2000 essay collection All About Love is referenced in the exhibition’s title. This exhibition will explore the ways in which Thomas’s work draws on relationships and collaborations centred on love, self-expression, and joy.
Artist Mickalene Thomas, says: “The opportunity to showcase and tour my work across these leading art institutions marks a key milestone in my career as an artist. Each presentation uniquely navigates through the nuances of my work while cohesively investigating notions and topics at the core of my artistic practice. I am grateful for this incredible platform staged in cultural epicentres in the US and the UK and confident about the long-lasting impact of this show on a broader audience internationally.”
Rachel Thomas, Chief Curator at the Hayward Gallery, says: “The Hayward Gallery is delighted to lead the first major UK solo exhibition of pioneering artist Mickalene Thomas. The exhibition will explore how Thomas’s art articulates a complex and empowering vision of womanhood while subverting common notions of beauty, sexuality, fame and more. We are excited to join forces with other leading organisations to bring the exhibition to audiences internationally, sparking new thinking and dialogue in London and beyond.”
Ed Schad, Curator at The Broad, says: “We are proud to launch this major exhibition in Los Angeles, a city with many individual and institutional supporters of Thomas’s work and a demonstrated commitment to her important voice in contemporary art. In collaboration with our partners, The Broad is excited to trace Thomas’s work over two decades, as it has aimed a loving and empowered lens towards a radical rethinking of many pivotal themes and crisis points in art history.”
TK Smith, Assistant Curator: Art of the African Diaspora at the Barnes, says: “Mickalene Thomas is known for her vivid, tactile work that contends with the nuances of the Black and female identities while examining the interplay between the two. The Barnes is honored to present the only East Coast presentation of All About Love, a major solo exhibition that explores Thomas’s practice through her creation of intimate spaces and sensual worlds. We look forward to sharing her visionary work with the Philadelphia community and beyond.”