Er, make that Une Femme Noir. Mickalene Thomas and Racquel Chevremont — the sizzling-hot art world power couple who dub themselves Deux Femmes Noires — have broken off their 11-year romance just after mounting a much-hyped show together at the Hamptons art mecca, the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill.
As an artist, Mickalene Thomas challenges ingrained art-world hierarchies. As a collector, she does the same. Her own collages, installations, photographs, videos, and paintings—elaborate pieces made of acrylic, enamel, and rhinestones for which she’s especially well known—turn art history on its head, foregrounding women, people of color, and queer identity. A similar line runs through the creators whose art she surrounds herself with.
From their first project at Volta to their recent collaboration with HBO’s And Just Like That… collector Racquel Chevremont and artist Mickalene Thomas, the curators behind Deux Femmes Noires, have left their mark on New York City. In their latest show, “Set it Off” (now on view at the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, New York) the duo showcase their commitment to the evolution of six Black women artists featured in the exhibition: Leilah Babirye, Torkwase Dyson, February James, Karyn Olivier, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, and Kennedy Yanko. Below, Chevremont and Thomas tell us about the inspiration behind the show, and fill us in on the importance of timing, liking what each other is looking at, and caring for artists beyond the gallery walls.
Nearly 20 years ago, the curator and collector Racquel Chevremont paid a visit to the artist Mickalene Thomas’s studio in her basement in Brooklyn. The meeting turned out to be life-changing, and at this point, the pair is so creatively close that they finish each other’s sentences—especially when discussing their endeavors with Deux Femmes Noires, which is all about giving a platform to lesser-known artists (particularly those who are women of color). And it’s working: Kennedy Yanko, an artist featured in their first co-curated show at Volta New York, for example, was the talk of this past Art Basel Miami Beach. The same will, no doubt, be true for any combination of the six artists featured in “Set It Off,” which will be on view on the grounds of the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, New York from May 22 to July 24. (Yanko is again a part of the exhibition, along with Leilah Babirye, Torkwase Dyson, February James, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, and Karyn Olivier.)
CAMDEN — "It's fascinating to me," said Kimberly Camp as she sat at Camden FireWorks on Monday. "There are rock stars from Camden, and they're all in the arts." Camp, a Camden native and art world rock star in her own right (now owner of Galerie Marie in Collingswood, she was CEO of the Barnes Foundation and her work has been shown at the Baltimore Museum of Art, Longwood Gardens, the Smithsonian Institution and the African American Museum Philadelphia), also wondered, "Why do more people not get this?"