chicago

View of “Mickalene Thomas,” 2014–15.

Mickalene Thomas

Kavi Gupta Gallery | Elizabeth St

View of “Mickalene Thomas,” 2014–15.

On the heels of Mickalene Thomas’s widely screened HBO documentary Happy Birthday to a Beautiful Woman (2012) comes “I was born to do great things,” yet another heartfelt exhibition dedicated to Sandra Bush, Thomas’s late mother and longtime muse. In a departure from her 2012–13 show at Lehmann Maupin in New York, for which the artist projected the film in a side gallery removed from the “room within a gallery” installation that has become a recurring feature of her practice, here Thomas embeds the (now looped) film within a similarly immersive 1970s-era domestic simulacrum. In the present tableau, table lamps cast low-watt red and yellow light, and comfortable-looking stuffed armchairs, gloriously patterned ottomans, faux-wood paneling, knickknacks, and decorative tchotchkes achieve such seamless verisimilitude that the space seems to invite viewers to make themselves at home

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