Los Angeles

Mickalene Thomas, Landscape with Tree, 2012, rhinestones, acrylic, oil, and enamel on wood panel, 100 x 90 x 2".

Mickalene Thomas

ICA - Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

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Courbet’s L’Origine du monde (The Origin of the World), 1866, was staged to great effect in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 2008 retrospective, where a protective wall, rather than secreting it away, none too subtly called attention to the infamous painting of a crotch splayed open. Mickalene Thomas’s rejoinder—the crux of her first solo museum exhibition, “Origin of the Universe,” which opened at the Santa Monica Museum of Art and is currently on view at the Brooklyn Museum—is rooted in this retrospective, and the physical fact of confronting the panel seems key to what she makes of it: three versions of the original (all works 2012), with herself and her partner alternately serving as the models for the cropped, attenuated figure disappearing under the folds of rumpled bed linens. As with her pastiches of Hockney and Braque, Manet and Matisse, Ingres and Romare Bearden,

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