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Hank Willis Thomas

American, b. 1976

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Hank Willis Thomas

American, b. 1976

1,876
Followers
Biography

Conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas uses photography to explore issues of identity, history, race, and class. Inspired by the works of Carrie Mae Weems, Lorna Simpson, and his mother, photographer Deborah Willis, he employs language and familiar imagery to address issues that are often overlooked in our pop culture-obsessed, consumerist culture. Appropriated print advertisements from 1968—a landmark year in the Civil Rights Movement—are stripped of their context to open up questions of cultural stereotypes and the way the media perpetuates them, while in the series “Branded” he inverts the work, adding contemporary ad copy to provocative images. “In recent years I have approached my art practice assuming the role of a visual culture archaeologist,” Thomas has said. “I am interested in the ways that popular imagery informs how people perceive themselves and others around the world.”

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Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Blue chip status
Blue chip representation
Represented by internationally reputable galleries.
User
Solo show at a major institution
Brooklyn Museum
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 6 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum, and 3 more
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Istanbul Biennial, and 2 more
Biography

Conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas uses photography to explore issues of identity, history, race, and class. Inspired by the works of Carrie Mae Weems, Lorna Simpson, and his mother, photographer Deborah Willis, he employs language and familiar imagery to address issues that are often overlooked in our pop culture-obsessed, consumerist culture. Appropriated print advertisements from 1968—a landmark year in the Civil Rights Movement—are stripped of their context to open up questions of cultural stereotypes and the way the media perpetuates them, while in the series “Branded” he inverts the work, adding contemporary ad copy to provocative images. “In recent years I have approached my art practice assuming the role of a visual culture archaeologist,” Thomas has said. “I am interested in the ways that popular imagery informs how people perceive themselves and others around the world.”

Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Blue chip status
Blue chip representation
Represented by internationally reputable galleries.
User
Solo show at a major institution
Brooklyn Museum
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 6 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum, and 3 more
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Istanbul Biennial, and 2 more
Articles Featuring Hank Willis Thomas
10 In-Demand Works on Artsy This Week
Jun 29th, 2020
10 In-Demand Works on Artsy This Week
What Sold during Armory Week
Mar 9th, 2020
What Sold during Armory Week
How Mega-Collectors Don and Mera Rubell Keep Finding New Artists to Support
Nov 11th, 2019
How Mega-Collectors Don and Mera Rubell Keep Finding New Artists to Support
13 Artists Give Advice to Their Younger Selves
Dec 22nd, 2017
13 Artists Give Advice to Their Younger Selves
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