mickalene thomas Les trois femmes noires

Mickalene Thomas, Le Dejeuner sur l’herbe: Les trois femmes noires (detail), 2010. Rhinestones, acrylic, and enamel on wood panel, 304.8 x 731.5 cm. The Rachel and Jean-Pierre Lehmann Collection © Mickalene Thomas

Mickalene Thomas: Femmes Noires

November 29, 2018 – March 24, 2019

Located on the 5th floor.

This exhibition is included with general admission.

“Forces you to stop and wonder why you’ve never seen anything like it before.” – NOW Magazine


Mickalene Thomas: Femmes Noires upends and overturns familiar representations and monolithic notions of Black women today.

This exhibition, developed in a creative partnership between the AGO and the Contemporary Arts Center of New Orleans, presents a bold new collection of Thomas’s vibrant, colourful and provocative paintings, silkscreens, photographs, time-based media and site-specific installations exploring how Black women are represented in art and popular culture.

The exhibition also highlights Thomas’s collage work and the inspiration she takes from popular art histories and movements, including Impressionism, Cubism, Dada and the Harlem Renaissance.

Mickalene Thomas: Femmes Noires is the first large-scale solo exhibition by this African-American contemporary artist to be staged in Canada. It will spark timely and urgent conversations about race, representational politics, Black celebrity culture and sexuality as seen through a Black queer feminist perspective.

Organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto and the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans.


mickalene thomas' Diahann Carroll

Mickalene Thomas, Diahann Carroll #2, 2018.  Silkscreen ink and acrylic on acrylic mirror, mounted on wood panel, 182.9 x 152.4 x5.1 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris/Brussels. © Mickalene Thomas / Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Mickalene Diahnn Carroll
video installation by mickalene thomas

Mickalene Thomas, Los Angelitos Negros, 2016. Four (4) HD monitors, two-channel HD video, sound; each: 121.9 x 137.2 cm; duration: 23 mins., 18 secs. 121.9 x 137.2 cm. Courtesy of the artist. © Mickalene Thomas / Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York. 

Mickalene Thomas angelitos negros


Betty: They Say I'm Different
Wednesday March 27, Friday March 29 and Saturday March 30

Dir. Phil Cox
2017 | 54 min

Funk Queen Betty Davis changed the landscape for female artists in America. An aspiring songwriter from a small steel town, Betty arrived on the 70's scene to break boundaries for women with her daring personality, iconic fashion and outrageous funk music. She befriended Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone, wrote songs for the Chambers Brothers and the Commodores, and married Miles Davis - startlingly turning him from jazz to funk on the album she named "Bitches Brew". She then,…

M. NourbeSe Philip with Donna Bailey Nurse
Wednesday March 13, 7 PM

In recent decades Black Women’s writing has emerged as one of the most prominent and profound literatures in the world. From Chimamanda Adichie in Nigeria to Angie Thomas in the United States to Esi Edugyan in Canada to Zadie Smith in the U.K. – its reach is diasporic. And its stories set everywhere unfold at the fiery intersection of race, class and gender. Their writings contemplate…

In the Living Room: Space, Race and Gender
Saturday March 2, 2pm

Join us for a discussion between multidisciplinary artists Noah Brown and Adrienne Matheuszik as they explore how their artistic practices re-conceptualize the ways in which we think about racialized and gendered identities. 

How do material and virtual spaces mediate the embodiment, experiences and perceptions of racialized and gendered identities? What are their impacts on the processes of identification and developing a sense of belonging…

Sold Out
An Afternoon with Angie Thomas Presented with Indigo
Sunday February 24, 2PM

Presented with Indigo Books & Music

Angie Thomas is one of the leading voices exploring black girlhood. Author of the #1 New York Times bestselling, award-winning novel The Hate U Give, she is a former teen rapper. Join us for the Toronto launch of her newest book On the Come Up and an in depth conversation with Donna Bailey Nurse on her body of work.

Book signing:
Angie Thomas will sign/personalize one book per attendee…

In the Living Room: The Ethics of Black Aesthetics
Saturday February 9, 2 PM

Join us for a discussion between multidisciplinary artists Amber Williams-King and Oreka James as they explore the responsibility and ethics of making culturally specific work.

What does it mean to create work that speaks to or from a particular community? In what ways can artists represent black figures in their work without contributing to a history of objectification? How are black artists resisting cooptation from external…

Special Events
The Feast
Friday January 25, 2019, 6 - 9 pm

The Feast is a performative dining exchange seating 100 Black women artists and arts workers around an exaggerated table down the centre of the Art Gallery of Ontario. It is a communal action positioning Black women creatives, knowledge holders and cultural producers at the centre of one of Canada’s largest arts institutions. The group has gathered in part to mark the 30th anniversary of Black Wimmin: When and Where We Enter, the first Canadian exhibition to exclusively feature the work of Black women artists organized by Diasporic African Wimmin Art Collective DAWA. The…

Esi Edugyan with Donna Bailey Nurse
Wednesday January 23, 7 pm

In recent decades Black Women’s writing has emerged as one of the most prominent and profound literatures in the world. From Chimamanda Adichie in Nigeria to Angie Thomas in the United States to Esi Edugyan in Canada to Zadie Smith in the U.K. – its reach is diasporic. And its stories – set everywhere – unfold at the fiery intersection of race, class and gender. Esi Edugyan joins Donna Bailey Nurse to discuss Washington Black and her artistic practice.


In the Living Room: The Dis/Appearing Black Body
Saturday January 19, 2 PM

Join us for a discussion between photographer Jorian Charlton and multidisciplinary artist Shantel Miller as they explore the ways in which their practices address the representations of black women in visual culture.

How do bodies become racialized, gendered, sexualized and made hyper or invisible? What are the consequences of these processes? How do our public institutions, cultural discourses and individual practices sustain, reproduce and legitimize them? How might we reclaim, subvert or otherwise undermine the various…

Coco Framboise (Nikola Steer) - Afro-Dite: HairLoom
Friday January 18, 7 pm

Afro-Dite: HairLoom is a contemplation of black beauty and the celebration of its otherness.  Sourced from her childhood experience of wearing large braids to school and being different from her mostly Caucasian schoolmates, the artist invites her mother (and others) to rebraid her hair, this time weaving…

Daughters of the Dust
Wednesday January 16, Friday January 18 & Saturday January 19,

Dir. Julie Dash
1991| 1 h 53 min

At the dawn of the 20th century, a multi-generational family in the Gullah community on the Sea Islands off of South Carolina – former West African slaves who adopted many of their ancestors’ Yoruba traditions – struggle to maintain their cultural heritage and folklore while contemplating a migration to the mainland, even further from their roots.

The first wide release by a black female filmmaker, Daughters of the Dust was met with wild critical acclaim and rapturous…

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Artist's Talk: Mickalene Thomas
Wednesday November 28, 2018, 7 - 8 pm

Join artist Mickalene Thomas with writer and critic Antwaun Sargent for a conversation about her work to celebrate the opening of the exhibition,  Mickalene Thomas: Femmes Noires.

Mickalene Thomas  makes paintings, collages, photography, video and installations that draw on art history and popular culture to create a contemporary vision of female sexuality, beauty and power. Blurring the distinctions between object and subject,…

Special Events
Mickalene Thomas: Femmes Noires Public Opening
Wednesday November 28, 2018, 6-10 pm

Join us for the public opening of Mickalene Thomas: Femmes Noires, featuring an incredible DJ set by



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