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Thursdays, October 24 – November 21, 2 – 3:30pm


Mickalene Thomas. Afro Goddess Looking Forward (detail), 2015. Rhinestones, acrylic, and oil on wood panel. © 2024 Mickalene Thomas

$220; members $198
(4 classes; no class November 7)

About the Class

Renée Mussai, scholar and curator of the Barnes presentation of Mickalene Thomas: All About Love, leads this class exploring Mickalene Thomas’s multifaceted practice. One of the most influential visual artists working today, Thomas creates mixed-media paintings, collages, photography, and installations that articulate a powerful and unflinching view of Black femininity. Using Thomas’s expansive oeuvre as a point of departure, we will discuss the artist’s critical engagement with pop culture, art history, and modes of visual pleasure. We’ll also widen the lens to look at a diverse range of female, queer, or nonbinary artists of color—including Carrie Mae Weems and Zanele Muholi—who Thomas shares affinities with and draws inspiration from. One session will provide an in-depth look at the making of All About Love and explore the politics of curatorial activism at the heart of projects such as this. Lastly, we will touch on how specific works—such as Le Déjeuner sur l’herbes (Les Trois Femmes Noire) (2010)—are in dialogue with the art historical canon and engage with themes of agency, kinship, empowerment, collaboration, and the role of the muse.

The class is online-only. More about online classes.

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Barnes classes will:

  • Sharpen your observational and critical thinking skills.
  • Improve your ability to communicate about art.
  • Deepen your appreciation for cultures and histories outside your own.

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Renée Mussai

Mussai is a London-based independent curator, scholar, and writer with a special interest in Black feminist and queer visual arts practices. From 2010–22, she served as senior curator and head of curatorial & collections at Autograph, London, where she organized numerous critically acclaimed group and solo exhibitions and was responsible for a diverse range of commissions, publications, and research initiatives. In 2023 Mussai served as chief curator and artistic director of the Walther Collection, New York, and Neu-Ulm, Germany, and as co-curator for R/evolutions, the 14th edition of PhotoIreland Festival in Dublin. Her publications include several artist monographs and anthologies, such as the award-winning Lina Iris Viktor—Some Are Born to Endless Night (Autograph, 2020) and Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness (Aperture, 2018; 2024). Her books Eyes That Commit—A Visual Gathering (Thames & Hudson) and Black Chronicles—Photography, Race and Difference in Victorian Britain (Autograph) are forthcoming in 2025.
Image © Christa Holka

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