Do you enjoy and value Culture Type? The artist draws inspiration from art history and popular culture, so her imagery is as likely to reference nineteenth-century painting as blaxploitation films of the seventies. Culture Type is a solo editorial project that requires countless hours and expense to research, report, write, and produce. Receive newsletter and notification of new posts via email. Other questions:email@example.com. "Since I mainly do portraits of woman, it just made sense to do something on Michelle Obama.". ©2020 Verizon Media. 1. A blog focused on visual art from a Black perspective, Culture Type explores the intersection of art, history, and culture. (Courtesy Newcomb Art Museum, the artist and Lehmann Maupin New York and Hong Kong), 'Portrait of Solange Thinking About You," by Mickalene Thomas, 2013, Color photograph and paper collage on archival board. Please consider supporting its ongoing production by making a donation. It only takes a minute. That’s a future worth investing in, right? Many Thanks for Your Support. Culture Type is a solo editorial project that requires countless hours and expense to research, report, write, and produce. TODAY IS FIRST LADY OBAMA’s 51st birthday. The pale blue background of Thomas's print was based on one of Mrs. Obama's dresses, she said. | National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Kenneth I. Schaner, © Mickalene Thomas. The program helps offset a small portion of the countless hours and expense required to research, report, write and produce Culture Type's content. She painted First Lady Michelle Obama’s first individual portrait in 2008; the painting, titled Michelle O, subsequently went on view at the National Portrait Gallery. Culture Type® is also an affiliate of Bookshop.org, whose mission is to financially support local, independent bookstores. Her 2008 screen print “Michelle O” features a graphic image of FLOTUS’ face in black and white. Thomas said that Solange's mother Tina Knowles had previously purchased some of her artworks, which made Solange aware of her style. Thomas's print became the first well-known portrait of First Lady Obama and was soon included in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery. The colorful collage she produced became the cover art of Solange's custom EP "True.". Thomas’s practice is defined by her powerful portrayals of black women, which capitalize on their natural beauty. Titled “Michelle O,” the 2008 Pop art-style screen print is a nod to Andy Warhol’s vision of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (also known as “Jackie O”). We’re not telling you what to do here, but in the off chance that Michelle does one day run for office, her first-ever portrait will be worth far more. A suite of Mickalene Thomas's lush, glittering photos and paintings of women went on display at the Newcomb Art Museum on the Tulane University campus on Wednesday evening (January 18). Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. From the moment she entered the national spotlight, Obama has been a history maker and a cultural icon. You have permission to edit this article. 2. To help sustain it, make a one-time donation or sign up for a recurring monthly contribution. Mickalene Thomas was inspired by the latter image when she made what is considered the first solo portrait of Obama, a print donated to the Obama campaign shortly before the 2009 inauguration. Mickalene Thomas enshrines black female beauty in portraits of Michelle Obama and Naomi Campbell and creates museum installations aimed at inclusion. When you make any purchase from Amazon, and the many independent vendors, small businesses, and booksellers that partner with Amazon, via a link from this site, Culture Type receives a minute percentage of its price. It’s hard to believe that just eight years ago, America was waiting with similarly bated breath to find out whether or not a certain senator from Illinois would become the next president of the United States. Artist Mickalene Thomas discusses Michelle Obama and Solange Knowles Doug MacCash, NOLA.com | Times-Picayune Published Jan 19, 2017 at 5:20 am | Updated Jul 22, 2019 at 3:57 pm To help sustain it, make a one-time donation or sign up for a recurring monthly contribution. She wanted to mark the historic moment of the first African-American president on behalf of the school kids, but there were already "a lot of images focused on Mr. Obama at the time," she said. She doesn’t abandon her signature flair, however, using Democratic blue to inject a pop of color and embellishing the black elements with glitter. We made it easy for you to exercise your right to vote! 'Michelle O' by Mickalene Thomas, 2008, screen print. Now that would be art historical!” Artist Mickalene Thomas discusses Michelle Obama and Solange Knowles. In its simplicity and visceral power, the print captures not just the image of a person, but the spirit of an icon. It was just a really powerful moment in our American history.”, MICKALENE THOMAS, “Michelle O,” 2008 (screenprint on paper). (Courtesy of the artist and Artists Rights Society ARS). “It is meaningful because it is a symbol of the time. Do you enjoy and value Culture Type? She also punctuated the pop art reference with subtle nods to blaxploitation. Here's Your Chance To Buy The First Portrait Of Michelle Obama As FLOTUS, Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost's next chapter. 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