black female figure reclined on a couch covered in a floral-patterned blanket; figure wears red, gauzy robe, open, with chest exposed, and a black bodice around the waist, with lace trim at the bottom; animal patterened rugs, with a bright blue wall in background; large plant at right edge; white lamp on a wooden table, with a tattered LP under table leaning against the wall

© Mickalene Thomas %2F Artists Rights Society %28ARS%29%2C NY

Madame Mama Bush, 2012

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This large format photograph depicts the artist Mickalene Thomas’s mother, Sandra, at the artist’s studio. Deftly instrumentalizing iconographic tropes—figurations of the muse and of the odalisque—she presents a fundamental shift in the visualization of black female bodies and their power. Sandra’s gleaming breast, her vivid robe, the sensuous curve of her legs as they drape across the flowered and animal-patterned draperies of her couch, and above all her profile, turned to the ceiling in rapturous repose, claim the space within the frame as hers alone.

Details
Title
Madame Mama Bush
Artist Life
born 1971
Role
Photographer
Accession Number
2019.101
Curator Approved

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black female figure reclined on a couch covered in a floral-patterned blanket; figure wears red, gauzy robe, open, with chest exposed, and a black bodice around the waist, with lace trim at the bottom; animal patterened rugs, with a bright blue wall in background; large plant at right edge; white lamp on a wooden table, with a tattered LP under table leaning against the wall

© Mickalene Thomas / Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY

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