A family photograph with Mickalene Thomas's mother, Sandra Bush
© Mickalene Thomas; courtesy of the artist

Mickalene Thomas is bringing a major installation and series of programming, grounded in her personal history but conceived for a wider community, to the Bass in Miami Beach in December with the immersive environment Better Nights. Due to run from 1 December to 27 September 2020, the piece is a follow-up to her “art bar installation” Better Days at the Galerie Volkhaus in Basel during Art Basel in 2013, which Thomas says was, at the time, “a new immersive experience and extension of [her] work”.

Better Nights, like Better Days, is rooted in her childhood memories, particularly of Thomas's mother, who passed away the year before Better Days was staged. The installation relates to a Polaroid the artist found of her mother in a mirrored room in their home, and it takes inspiration from her mothers parties and the local New Jersey play Put a Little Sugar in my Bowl, which Thomass mother and her friends organised and performed. The installation was based on her mothers house, Thomas says, and she is collaborating with different fabricators for some of the objects. There will also be works by Thomas and other artists throughout the rooms; she so far names Derrick Adams, Xaviera Simmons, Christie Neptune and John Edmonds among the potential artists selected.

A family photograph of Sandra Bush, Mickalene Thomas's mother
© Mickalene Thomas; courtesy of the artist

When she made Better Days, in 2013. “I think I was just healing in a different way at that time, it was very shortly after my mother passed, so that was just really different—I was a different person,” Thomas says. What makes this moment, six years later, the right time to follow up on Better Days? Thomas has, for instance, in the meantime made the immersive 1970s-style environment and video work Do I Look Like a Lady? (Comedians and Singers) (2016), currently on view at Portland Art Museum in Oregon, which recently acquired the work.

“Right now, I feel like this space is cultivating a particular community that my mother celebrated and surrounded herself with; its the community that we are engaged with in conversation today, socially and right now internationally and nationally when were speaking of queer-identifying and trans people and people of colour, were really embracing these identities, and Im really empowered by that and I think thats why right now is thRead More – Source


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