Jan. 17-March 12: Mickalene Thomas: "Muse" and "tête-à-tête"

Jan. 17-March 12

Mickalene Thomas' intricately staged and often rhinestone-incrusted work is among the most alluring and challenging in the national art world in recent years, and her influence can often be seen in Baltimore galleries and artist studios. A painter, photographer, and collagist whose work poses open dialogue surrounding her influences and muses through reappropriation, she now takes on that big artistic influence question—one recently explored by the Baltimore Museum of Art through its "Matisse/Diebenkorn" exhibition (closing this weekend)—by stepping into the simultaneous role of artist and curator through two exhibitions at MICA. One, "Muse," features Thomas' photographic work, which, like her paintings, place poised black women in lush interior spaces or frenetic oceans of decorative patterns, often laden with compositional references to Western art history. The accompanying exhibition, "tête-à-tête," showcases images that have inspired Thomas' work, including photographs by Malick Sidibé, Carrie Mae Weems, Derrick Adams, and LaToya Ruby Frazier. Maryland Institute College of Art, Fox Building, 1303 W. Mount Royal Ave., mica.edu, free. (Maura Callahan)

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