ART

AS IF SPEAKER SERIES PRESENTS MICKALENE THOMAS

WORDS

by KRISTOPHER FRASER

PHOTOS

COURTESY of PATRICK McMULLAN

“She’s always keeping us on our toes,” remarked the Director of the Brooklyn Museum, Anne Pasternak, referring to artist Mickalene Thomas, with whom she just finished a panel discussion. The discussion was for AS IF Magazine’s first Artist Speaker Series, which they hosted with premiere luxury watchmaker, Audemars Piguet at the Brooklyn Museum on November 7. The talk was moderated by Audemars Piguet’s art advisor, András Szántó. 

“Mickalene Thomas draws on her experiences of being an African American woman living and working in America,” said AS IF Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, Tatijana Shoan. “She brings her experiences to life in incredible textured, raw, and colorful works of art that command us to think of the female form in ways outside of the white female form we have seen portrayed in art throughout centuries. Her body of work speaks to people who never, or rarely, saw themselves represented in museums in the past, and allows audiences to either relate, or contemplate what that means. Her work pushes the conversation of art in dynamic and inclusive ways that ultimately impact society as a whole, and when art can do that we all benefit from its power. This is why we at AS IF, and our partners at Audemars Piguet, felt it was important to have Mickalene Thomas as our first artist in our speaker series.”

 

AS IF’s Artist Speaker Series aims to discuss the evolving role art has in society. Over the last several years, AS IF has witnessed how art has connected to a wider, diverse, and more inclusive audience, and this series will help communicate the ways artists are affecting change in our world today on both artistic and social platforms.

 

For the panel discussion, Thomas, Pasternak, and Szántó discussed everything from the state of contemporary art, the need for more black women artists in the contemporary space, how the art world is continuing to change, and how Thomas has managed to carve out a space for herself where black women are rarely heard and seen. 

Antwaun Sargent and Mickalene Thomas

AS IF was proud to bring together notable names in New York’s art, fashion, and social scenes which included Marina Abramovic, Amy Fine Collins, Michele Oka Doner, Craig Bassam, Scott Fellows, Marky Ramone, Antwaun Sargent, Alvin Hall, Louise Camuto, and Audemars Piguet’s North American CEO, Antonio Seward.

“Having Mickalene as the first person for AS IF’s Artist Speaker Series raised the bar really high,” Pasternak said. “Mickalene is an artist whose broken-down serious boundaries. She’s kicked open doors only like an artist can, so starting with her is a very inspiring thing to do.”

One hour prior to the art talk guests were invited to the Brooklyn Museum’s exquisite third floor Beaux-Arts Court to partake in an open bar before being directed to the Egyptian Room where comfortable sofas and oversized chairs were specially arranged for guests. After the talk guests were brought back into the Beaux-Arts Court where the court itself was magically turned into a formal dining hall, which included a classical guitarist.

“Art plays a vital role in society today,” said AS IF’s publisher, Scott Fishkind. “We’ve always been committed to helping bring artists’ messages to our readers unfiltered and uncompromised. We are continuing this commitment by introducing our Artist Speaker Series, and by creating unique collaborations with artists and brands. We were very happy to partner with Audemars Piguet for this special night, because they are a brand that shares our commitment and support for the arts.”

Andras Szanto, Anne Pasternak, Mickalene Thomas, Tatijana Shoan, Antonio Seward

“Mickalene is an artist whose broken-down serious boundaries. She’s kicked open doors only like an artist can, so starting with her is a very inspiring thing to do.”

— Anne Pasternak —

AS IF Speaker Series Cocktail Hour

Marky Ramone, Scott Fishkind, Marina Abramović

Tatijana Shoan, Craig Bassam, Mickalene Thomas, Scott Fellows, Stacey Jones

Jon Gray, Aya Brown, Kennedy Yanko

Alvin Hall, Laura Zarta, Racquel Chevremont

Kim Heirston, Laura Pozvolska Nicklas, Marina Abramović, Tatijana Shoan, Mickalene Thomas

Marina Abramović, Tatijana Shoan, Alvin Hall

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