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In Review

VISUAL ARTSArtistic Acquisitions New works highlight the Memorial Art Gallery’s post–WWII collection.
magFIRST LOOK: Thomas’s Portrait of Qusuquzah #6 (2015) (opposite), Liu’s Three Fujins (1995) (top), and Farmanfarmaian’s Convertible Series, Group 10 (2011) are on display this fall. (Photo: Memorial Art Gallery)

Mickalene Thomas is earning an international reputation for her artistic vision of what it means to be a woman in the 21st century. In work that explores traditional notions of beauty, gender, race, and representation, the Brooklyn-based visual artist and film maker has earned wide praise not only for her vibrant, elaborate paintings, but also for her complex vision and deft allusions to art history and classical genres.

Her Portrait of Qusuquzah #6 (2015), a work in acrylic, enamel, oil, and rhinestones on a wood panel, is one of nine recent acquisitions by the Memorial Art Gallery that were introduced this summer as part of the first major reinstallation of the gallery’s collection of postwar and contemporary art in several decades. Also added to the collection were works by Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Hung Liu, and the late Beauford Delaney.

Jonathan Binstock, the Mary W. and Donald R. Clark Director of the Memorial Art Gallery, says the new works take their place in the gallery’s long artistic narrative.

“The beauty of these acquisitions is how well they fit into MAG’s historical collections. They can be exhibited together, in the context of a modern and contemporary art installation, or inserted into other areas of the museum, as provocative foils that expand the conversation on the relevance of art, both past and present, for contemporary audiences.”

Thomas’s work, along with Convertible Series, Group 10 (2011), a mirrored wall sculpture by Farmanfarmaian, Three Fujins (1995), an allegorical painting by Liu, and Delaney’s Charlie Parker (1968), will remain on view as part of the permanent collection installation.