Thomas Jean Lax is a curator and writer specializing in black art, queer study and performance. At the Museum of Modern Art, they organized the exhibition Just Above Midtown: Changing Spaces (2022) about the gallery, founded by Linda Goode Bryant in 1974 where “blackness existed in the presence of black folks rather than in the absence of whiteness.” In 2019, Thomas worked with colleagues across MoMA on a major rehang of its collection, celebrated as an “integrated presence of difference itself”; in 2018, Thomas co-organized the exhibition Judson Dance Theater: The Work is Never Done with Ana Janevski and Martha Joseph, historicizing the emergence of postmodern dance in the early 1960s within avant-garde jazz, high camp, and eco-critical improvisations. Thomas’s other collaboratively-organized exhibitions include the Projects Series for emerging artists; Unfinished Conversations, inspired by the cultural theorist Stuart Hall; and the contemporary art survey exhibition, Greater New York. Previously, they worked at The Studio Museum in Harlem for seven years organizing When The Stars Begin To Fall: Imagination and the American South and participating in the landmark “f show” contemporary art series.

Thomas is a contributor to publications including Prospect New Orleans, Artforum, October, The NationT Magazine and Vanity Fair, among others. They are on the board of Danspace Project and the Jerome Foundation and are on the advisory committees of the 2023 São Paulo Art BiennialContemporary And, The Laundromat Project, Participant Inc., and Recess Assembly.

A native New Yorker, Thomas holds degrees in Africana Studies and Art History from Brown and Columbia Universities and is a PhD candidate in Performance Studies at NYU where they are working on a project about mothers. They were the inaugural recipient of the Cisneros Research Grant, traveling to Brazil in 2020 to research contemporary black art. In 2015, they were awarded the Menil Collection’s Walter Hopps Award for Curatorial Achievement and in 2020, they received the Noah Davis Prize from The Underground Museum in Los Angeles alongside Candice Hopkins and Jamillah James.