Mickalene Thomas: Beyond the Pleasure Principle
Mickalene Thomas: Beyond the Pleasure Principle (2021) at Lévy Gorvy, Paris, formed part of the multipart international exhibition including New York, London, and Hong Kong. Each city presented interconnected bodies of work, ranging from painting and collage to installation and video. With the sequential openings of Beyond the Pleasure Principle in the gallery’s global locations, Thomas set out to formally, spatially, and philosophically draw attention to the central study of her art: the power and desirability of Black women—and their presence, imprint, and legacy in global avant-garde visual culture. In conjunction with the exhibition at Lévy Gorvy, Paris, Thomas presented a series of large-scale collages at Galerie Nathalie Obadia.
In Paris, Beyond the Pleasure Principle featured five large-scale paintings from Thomas’s Resist series. The exhibition also premiered the artist’s new film installation Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced (Resist) (2021), which explored the central role of Black women within Civil Rights activism from the 1960s to present day protests for social justice. Thomas commemorated this lineage by combining historical and contemporary photojournalistic images of protests to position her multigenerational subjects amongst a long succession of female activists including Harriet Tubman, Fannie Lou Hamer, Stacey Abrams, and the countless women who have made historic contributions yet go unnamed.