1. Home
  2. Agencies and Departments
  3. MTA Arts & Design
  4. Remembering Summer

Remembering Summer

Remembering Summer

W.S. Merwin, Poet • Mickalene Thomas, Artist

About the Poet

W.S. Merwin is a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning poet who has published more than 30 books of poetry, translation, and prose. His poetry explores personal ideals within a free-verse style. Born on September 30, 1927, in New York City, W.S. Merwin is known for his poetry's distinctive sparse style, and his condemnation of the Vietnam War and destruction of the environment. Passion for nature and Buddhism are evident in Merwin's later works.

About the Artist

Mickalene Thomas was born in New Jersey and now works in Brooklyn, New York. She is a distinguished multidisciplinary visual artist best known for combining art historical, political, and pop-cultural references to create striking figurative and nonfigurative paintings. Thomas introduces complex notions of femininity and challenges common definitions of beauty and aesthetic representation. Her work stems from her long study of art history and classical genres of portraiture and landscape. Inspired by various sources that range from the nineteenth-century Hudson River School to Édouard Manet, Alice Neel, and Romare Bearden, she has created a true signature style and continues to explore notions of beauty from a contemporary perspective infused with influences of popular culture and pop art, redefining contemporary ideas of portraiture.

In combining traditional genres with African American female subjects, Thomas makes a case for opening up the conventional parameters of art history and culture. Thomas’s layered process of fragmentation, in which she begins with a photographic portrait and moves to collage and then on to painting, is the result of discreet borrowings from our 21st-century language of mass culture. Strategically placed objects in her photographs come into sharper relief during the collage stage as deliberately exposed tape and abrupt lines between forms frame our perspective, focusing us on the distinct cultural languages that she puts on view. Thomas is represented by Lehmann Maupin in New York, Suzanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Galerie Nathalie Obadia in Paris, and Kavi Gupta Gallery in Chicago.