Controversy unfolded on Twitter over the weekend as users noticed a striking similarity between photographer Juergen Teller’s months-old Rihanna photoshoot for Vogue Paris and the signature aesthetic of artist Mickalene Thomas. The issue here seems more than pure coincidence; both artists are represented by the same gallery, Lehmann Maupin, making it highly unlikely that Teller could plead ignorance to appropriating Thomas’ style.
THIS IS A BAD COPY OF MICKALENE THOMAS’ ART https://t.co/RDASJa26m5
— sirsargent (@Sirsargent) July 23, 2018
Although Teller is primarily known as a fashion photographer, Lehmann Maupin represents his fine art practice. In a statement given to Hyperallergic, the gallery clarified that they were not consulted or involved in his work for Vogue Paris.
“We will continue to represent Juergen in this capacity and are hopeful that there will be a resolution between these two artists. As we have publicly stated, we wholeheartedly stand behind Mickalene Thomas and her signature aesthetic,” the gallery added.
Thus far, Teller has chosen not to make a comment. The wider-released statement by the gallery is below:
In response to the images of Rihanna by Juergen Teller in the December 2017/January 2018 issue of Vogue Paris, which have rightly been compared to Mickalene Thomas’ work, Lehmann Maupin wishes to share the following statement:
Mickalene Thomas’ prolific body of work has been instrumental in addressing inequality within art history and art institutions through her representation and reclamation of traditional art historical genres and depictions of beauty and desire around the female body, particularly Black women, who have too long been marginalized in our culture. Throughout her career, Mickalene has developed an internationally recognized visual language that is deeply rooted in photography but encompasses collage, painting, video, and immersive installation. Mickalene has earned the right to be recognized and commended for her groundbreaking contributions to contemporary art and visual culture, and for a signature aesthetic that she has been cultivating for decades. As Mickalene’s longtime gallery and advocate, we vigorously stand by her in defending the originality of her work.
Over the past few years, Thomas has gained notoriety as one of this generation’s leading American artists. Just a few months ago, she starred alongside legendary artists Robert Colescott and Kerry James Marshall in the Seattle Art Museum’s Figuring History exhibition.
Even a casual viewer of Teller’s work will observe the photographer’s similar use of patterns and textures akin to those Thomas’ has employed in her work. The visual collaging of these textiles weaves a deep narrative of African-American culture within art history. There are also many sly references to the work of important African artists and photographers, like the Malian artist Seydou Keita. Accordingly, Teller appropriated these references in Thomas’ work for his Vogue Paris photoshoot, but it’s unclear if he understood exactly where these references were coming from.
I just wanna point out that this is very similar to mickalene thomas’ work and juergen NEEDS to explain what’s going on. pic.twitter.com/61RwLBklzF
— ry-uck. (@riacoseph) July 23, 2018
An extraordinary variety of artists came to Jon Swihart and Kim Merrill’s backyard potlucks, discussing not just their work, but also the events and challenges of their lives.
With A Lion for Every House at the Art Institute of Chicago, Floating Museum riffs wildly on the art rental programs of some museums.
Art and photographs, publications from the 19th and 20th centuries, manuscripts, posters and more are set to cross the auction block on August 18.
A Thing for the Mind takes Philip Guston’s 1978 painting “Story” as a starting point to examine the myriad ways in which this piece has filtered into the work of other painters.
An Oakland librarian and a French teacher in Oklahoma City collect ephemera they discover in returned and used books, from photos and recipes to love letters.
Until you’ve seen a place for yourself, it’s a bit of an abstract idea. So why not ask Artificial Intelligence to create your travel poster?
Incarcerated people will be allowed to read Heather Ann Thompson’s 2016 Blood in the Water, except for two pages featuring a map of the prison.
The Nevada Museum of Art in Reno welcomes guests to learn about “The Architect to the Stars” through captivating black and white photography. On view through October 2.
The long-lost painting resurfaced at the upscale Urban Gallery in Tel Aviv, sparking the anger of Palestinians.
“Guests in love, please understand — most of the exhibits in our museum are objects ‘born’ many years ago and subject to completely different moral standards,” said the Fort Gerhard museum in a statement.
This week, the Webb space telescope wows, übernovels, crappy pigeon nests, the problem with “experts,” and much more.