Blow the Man Down

About Hank Willis Thomas

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.”

American, b. 1976, Plainfield, New Jersey, based in New York, New York

Exhibition Highlights On Artsy

2015
2015
Image Objects, Public Art Fund, New York
2015
Printshop Benefit Sale 2015, Lower East Side Printshop, New York
2014
Hank Willis Thomas: History Doesn't Laugh, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg