Mickalene Thomas, Black is Beautiful, and the New York Times

by Fabiola Castro on May 1, 2024

This past Sunday, the New York Times published a feature story on our favorite contemporary artist, Mickalene Thomas, and her first major international tour, beginning with an exhibition at The Broad museum in Los Angeles, which opens on May 25th. Mickalene contributed a brilliant essay to Black is Beautiful (powerHouse Books) featuring LaMonte McLemore‘s photographs for JET magazine’s “Beauty of the Week” feature, which was edited by Govinda Gallery director, Chris Murray, with an introduction by Murray. Also featured are essays by Jayne Kennedy and Sylvia Flanagan.


JET magazine’s “Beauty of the Week” is one of the main inspirations –and indeed a direct reference and source material– for Mickalene’s work on the Black female figure.  In her essay for Black is Beautiful, Mickalene praises McLemore’s contribution to the celebration of Black women through his “Beauty of the Week” photos, stating that, “McLemore’s work was both groundbreaking as it challenged mainstream beauty standards and simultaneously celebrated the natural beauty of Black women. His photographs provided a platform for the concepts that have remained at the core of my work, such as the celebration of Black women as Icons.”


Mickalene Thomas. Photo by Amy Harrity for the New York Times.


Category: Blog, The Back Room   

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