International Center of Photography to Celebrate Artist Mickalene Thomas at Eighth Annual ICP Spotlights on October 23

Annual Event Includes Benefit Luncheon and Silent Auction
Jun 21, 2018
Annual Event Includes Benefit Luncheon and Silent Auction
Mickalene Thomas, Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe: Les trois femmes noires, 2010. © Mickalene Thomas.
Mickalene Thomas, Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe: Les trois femmes noires, 2010. © Mickalene Thomas.

The International Center of Photography (ICP), the world’s leading institution dedicated to photography and visual culture, will celebrate acclaimed artist Mickalene Thomas at the eighth annual ICP Spotlights, taking place on October 23 in New York City. Co-chaired by Peggy Anderson, Sheree Hovsepian, and Debby Hymowitz, the benefit luncheon will include a silent auction and feature an in-depth, on-stage conversation between Prof. Beverly Guy-Sheftall and the honoree.

Inspired by art history as well as popular culture, Thomas’s photographs and paintings of women examine and reimagine concepts of female identity and beauty. Her paintings, which are based on her photographs, are composed of paint, rhinestones, and enamel.

“We’re excited to recognize Mickalene Thomas, a true luminary of the contemporary art world, for her work challenging conventional notions of truth, femininity, and race,” says Mark Lubell, Executive Director of ICP. “Mickalene’s art is incorporated into a recent ICP Museum exhibition, Multiply, Identify, Her, and the conversations her work evokes are central to those we are fostering through our education and public programs.”

ICP Spotlights will once again include a silent auction featuring photography from both acclaimed photographers and ICP alumni. Past auctions have featured the work of Annie Leibovitz, Adam Fuss, Larry Fink, and more. Funds raised through the event support ICP’s education programs and exhibitions, as well as the Mary Ellen Mark Memorial Scholarship, which supports emerging talent in the field.

“The silent auction is one of the most exciting aspects of Spotlights every year,” says Hymowitz. “The quality and range of work is so impressive!”

Artsy will host this year’s auction online and will feature 27 works from contemporary photographers including Bruce Davidson, Zanele Muholi, Ryan McGinley, Andrea Modica, Graciela Iturbide, and Daniel Temkin to name a few. The auction is slated to go live on October 10, two weeks ahead of the Spotlights luncheon.

Anderson and Hymowitz founded ICP Spotlights in 2011 to shine a light on the immense talent of women influencing the world of photography and visual culture. Previous Spotlights honorees include Laurie Simmons, Lauren Greenfield, Carrie Mae Weems, Mary Ellen Mark, Shirin Neshat, and Lynsey Addario, among others.

Addario is on this year’s Honorary Committee, along with Alexandra Bell; Nancy Borowick; Isolde Brielmaier; Zoë Buckman; Elinor Carucci; Debbie Davis; Lucia Engstrom; Pippa Healy; Michi Jigarjian; Gillian Laub; Charmaine Picard; Yancey Richardson; Bastienne Schmidt; Alissa Schoenfeld; and Alice Zimet. The 2018 Spotlights Leadership Committee includes Caryl S. Englander; Agnes Gund; Renee Harbers Liddell; Elizabeth Kahane; Almudena Legorreta; Elizabeth Mayhew; Marjorie Rosen; Susan Sawyers; Stephanie H. Shuman; Magali Smith; Diane Tuft; and Heather Vrattos.

Tickets for this year’s event can be purchased per person or per table online at For more information or to make reservations, please contact Grace Dowd at 212.857.9714 or

About Mickalene Thomas

Mickalene Thomas is a 2015 United States Artists Francie Bishop Good & David Horvitz Fellow, distinguished visual artist, filmmaker, and curator who has exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally. She is known for paintings that combine art-historical, political, and pop-cultural references. Her work introduces complex notions of femininity and challenges common definitions of beauty and aesthetic representations of women.

Thomas holds an MFA from Yale University and a BFA from Pratt Institute. She’s held solo museum exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum, Aspen Museum, and L’Ecole des Beaux Arts, Monaco. Recent solo exhibitions include Mickalene Thomas: Do I Look Like a Lady? at MOCA Grand, Los Angeles; Mickalene Thomas: Mentors, Muses, and Celebrities at Aspen Art Museum and Spelman College; and Muse: Mickalene Thomas Photographs at Aperture Foundation, New York, which is scheduled to travel to several venues across the United States through 2019 and features her notably curated exhibition, tête-à-tête. Other recent shows include the group exhibitions Figuring History at the Seattle Art Museum and You Are Here at the North Carolina Museum of Art. Thomas’s work is in the permanent collections of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Brooklyn Museum, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, Hammer Museum, and Smithsonian American Art Museum, among many others. She is also currently working on solo exhibitions at the Wexner Center for the Arts and the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Thomas is represented by Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong; Kavi Gupta Gallery, Chicago; and Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris and Brussels. She lives and works in New York. 

About Beverly Guy-Sheftall

Beverly Guy-Sheftall is the founding director of the Women’s Research and Resource Center (1981) and Anna Julia Cooper Professor of Women’s Studies at Spelman College. For many years she was a visiting professor at Emory University’s Institute for Women’s Studies where she taught graduate courses in Women’s Studies. At the age of sixteen, she entered Spelman College where she majored in English and minored in secondary education. After graduating with honors, she attended Wellesley College for a fifth year of study in English. In 1968, she entered Atlanta to pursue a master’s degree in English; her thesis was entitled, “Faulkner’s Treatment of Women in His Major Novels.” A year later she began her first teaching job in the Department of English at Alabama State University in Montgomery, Alabama. In 1971 she returned to her alma mater Spelman College and joined the English Department.

She has published a number of texts within African American and Women’s Studies which have been noted as seminal works by other scholars, including the first anthology on Black women’s literature, Sturdy Black Bridges: Visions of Black Women in Literature (Doubleday, 1980), which she coedited with Roseann P. Bell and Bettye Parker Smith; her dissertation, Daughters of Sorrow: Attitudes Toward Black Women, 1880-1920 (Carlson, 1991); Words of Fire: An Anthology of African American Feminist Thought (New Press, 1995); an anthology she co-edited with Rudolph Byrd titled Traps: African American Men on Gender and Sexuality (Indiana University Press, 2001); a book coauthored with Johnnetta Betsch Cole, Gender Talk: The Struggle for Women’s Equality in African American Communities (Random House, 2003); an anthology, I Am Your SisterCollected and Unpublished Writings of Audre Lorde, co-edited with Rudolph P. Bryd, Johnnetta B. Cole, and Guy-Sheftall (Oxford University Press, 2009); and an anthology, Still Brave: The Evolution of Black Women’s Studies (Feminist Press, 2010), with Stanlie James and Frances Smith Foster. Her most recent publication (SUNY Press, 2010) is an anthology co-edited with Johnnetta B. Cole, Who Should Be First: Feminists Speak Out on the 2008 Presidential Campaign. In 1983 she became founding co-editor of Sage: A Scholarly Journal of Black Women, which was devoted exclusively to the experiences of women of African descent. She is the past president of the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) and was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2017).

About the International Center of Photography

The International Center of Photography (ICP) is the world’s leading institution dedicated to photography and visual culture. Cornell Capa founded ICP in 1974 to preserve the legacy of “concerned photography”—the creation of socially and politically minded images that have the potential to educate and change the world—and the center’s mission endures today, even as the photographic medium and imagemaking practices have evolved. Through its exhibitions, school, public programs, and community outreach, ICP offers an open forum for dialogue about the role that photographs, videos, and new media play in our society. To date, it has presented more than 700 exhibitions and offered thousands of classes at every level. ICP brings together photographers, artists, students, and scholars to create and interpret the realm of the image. Here, members of this unique community are encouraged to explore photography and visual culture as mediums of empowerment and as catalysts for wide-reaching social change. Visit to learn more.


Meryl Cooper, The COOPERation, 917.974.0022,

Updated October 9, 2018

Press Release