Can You Dig It? You know I can.

The Brooklyn Museum First Saturdays presents “CAN YOU DIG IT?” 1970’s Soul Experience honoring the Mickalene Thomas Exhibit “Origin Of The Universe”.

Funky art and funky music. Sounds like this is going to be a funky good time!

Event Information:

Can You Dig It? Brooklyn Museum, Saturday October 6, 2012
First Floor
9:00 pm – 9:30 pm

  • Hosted by Raye 6 & The Soul Dancers (performance & fashion show)
  • Music by DJ High Maintenance (spinning music from 1970 – 1979)
  • Flashback projection by A Rob Lee Visual
  • A talk-back wall – allowing visitors to explore their representations of beauty
  • We encourage all of you vintage lovers to dress the part! 1970’s inspired clothing, hair & attitude!
  • Come ready to move like you’re a guest on Soul Train! Crowd participation is a must! We all wanted to be adults in the 70’s here’s your chance to join in on a full on 70’s soul function!
  • Listen to “Can You Dig It?” Pt. 1 Mixtape by Raye 6 dedicated to Mickalene Thomas & all the 70’s LOVERS

Exhibition Information:

Origin Of The Universe
September 28, 2012–January 20, 2013
Morris A. and Meyer Schapiro Wing, 4th Floor

Mickalene Thomas: Origin of the Universe is the first major solo museum exhibition for the New York-based multi-media artist. Best known for her elaborate paintings of African American women against the backdrop of décor recalled from her childhood, Thomas has created an all-new suite of works that examine aspects of landscape painting. She introduces a new model of trans-generational female empowerment as she explores interior and exterior environments in relation to the female figure. The exhibition will travel to the Brooklyn Museum for display from September 28, 2012 to January 20, 2013.

Thomas is best known for her bold enamel and acrylic paintings adorned with rhinestones, glitter, and “bling.” Her subjects seem to have stepped directly from a 1970s Blaxploitation film, yet Thomas’s influences extend far beyond. Her oeuvre stems from her long study of art history and the classical genres of portraiture, landscape, and still life. Thomas’s layered factureprocess begins with a photographic portrait that is translated into a collage, and ultimately reenvisioned as a painting. Her imagery comprises careful borrowings from art history and from contemporary popular culture.

For Origin of the Universe, Thomas examines art historical constructs of feminine identity, sexuality, beauty, and power in 15 works in a variety of sizes, shapes, and media. Taking cues from Marcel Duchamp’s Étant Donnés: 1° la chute d’eau, 2° le gaz d’éclairage (Given: 1. The Waterfall, 2. The Illuminating Gas) and Gustave Courbet’s L’Origine du Monde (The Origin of the World), Thomas presents the female figure as the origin of the universe, focusing on how the female body both engenders and inhabits landscape. The works on view are in communication with one another—portraits of Qusuquzah and Din gaze out at modernist interiors and plein-air landscapes, all confronted by the artist’s arresting recreations of Courbet’s Origin.

In nineteenth-century visual culture, black female sexuality functioned as something to be rejected or disparaged, but Thomas reconfigures these historical tropes into contemporary statements of empowerment. By casting African American women as the “heroines” of her works, she makes a profound statement regarding gender and racial identity. Thomas’s dialogue with Courbet and Duchamp is a strong reclamation of history, reasserting the subjective nature of beauty. In addition to her paintings and photographs, she will create an installation in SMMoA’s Project Room 1, to reinvent Étant Donnés, where the “peep show” reveals the true surprise of a 70s-style paneled interior in the place of Duchamp’s splayed female body.

Some content may be deemed inappropriate for younger viewers.

Mickalene Thomas was born in 1971. She earned a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree from Pratt Institute and a Master’s of Fine Arts from Yale University. She has participated in residency programs at the Versailles Foundation Munn Artists Program, Giverny, France, and the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York. Her work has been shown in group exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, The Renaissance Society, Chicago, and MoMA PS1, New York, and is included in the important collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Art Institute of Chicago; The Museum of Fine Arts Boston; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Seventy-five of the ninety featured works were added for the Brooklyn presentation. An entrance-gallery mural, a film about Thomas’s mother, and installations of furnished domestic interiors were created specifically for this show.

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