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An Afternoon in Chelsea

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5. SHINIQUE SMITH/MICKALENE THOMAS
Caren Golden Fine Art

Through May 12
These twinned solo debuts at the gallery showcase color, pattern, and feminine power. Thomas’s photographs and rhinestone-flecked paintings of sultry, Afro’d women combine nostalgia for seventies blaxploitation heroines with of-the-moment bling. They’re too slick, made with one eye on the market, but a wall of curiously unflattering serial portraits of Oprah and Condi shows Thomas moving in a new and promising direction. As for Smith’s bundles of gathered fabric and cast-off accessories, they resemble 3-D graffiti and lend an edge to Thomas’s polished divas, but they don’t add much to this tired genre of sculpture.


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