Somewhere in Washington D.C. earlier this year, I saw an artist rendering that grabbed me. It was of a woman, and it looked like a random collage of magazine clippings. The woman was dark and lovely, and she was propped up elegantly and sassily on a sofa as if she was waiting for her lover to serve her a chilled glass of champagne. I glanced at the description of the piece for the name of the artist, but I didn’t keep it in my memory. Certainly now, I know it was the work of Mickalene Thomas on display at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Portrait of Mnonja stayed with me for a while.
A while later, I came across an article about an exhibit at the Newcomb Art Museum on the campus of Tulane University in New Orleans. It featured the works of a woman named Mickalene Thomas. The name didn’t sound familiar at the time, but the preview of her work was familiar. It was similar to that of the Portrait of Mnonja that had stayed with me. This past weekend, I visited the Newcomb Art Museum to view the temporary exhibit Mickalene Thomas: Waiting on a Prime-Time Star.The exhibit featured several of her pieces in all of its rhinestone, acrylic, and enamel glory. It also showcased photos that Thomas took of women in preparation for her work. Some of those photos didn’t need to be transformed into art pieces because the women themselves were so captivating.