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Hank Willis Thomas

American  •  b. 1976

Biography

Hank Willis Thomas is a conceptual artist working primarily with themes related to perspective identity, commodity, media, and popular culture. Willis employs the visual language and terminology of mass media, often appropriating symbols and images from popular culture, to investigate the idea of representation. At the core of his practice has been photography, and, by extension, the truth claims inherent to imagery.

Several of his series have explored the influence that power structures, such as advertising agencies and governing bodies, exert over our understanding of the world, while other works have played into the influence of social media outlets such as Instagram.

Insights

  • Selected museum exhibitions and performances: Brooklyn Museum, NY; SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, GA; Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao; Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA; The Cleveland Museum of Art, OH; The Baltimore Museum of Art; and the Cleveland Art Museum

“In recent years I have approached my art practice assuming the role of a visual culture archaeologist. I am interested in the ways that popular imagery informs how people perceive themselves and others around the world.”

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