Hank Willis Thomas - Photographs from the Martin Z. Margulies Foundation New York Thursday, April 4, 2024 | Phillips

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  • “Advertising is the most powerful and ubiquitous language in the world.”
    —Hank Willis Thomas

    Hank Willis Thomas’ series Unbranded: Reflections in Black by Corporate America (2005-2008) directly references American print advertising, offering a critical lens into its impact. The series surveys fifty years of advertisements aimed at African-Americans, spanning from 1968—a year marked by significant social and political unrest following Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination—to 2008, the year of the first African American president's election. As we can see with the two lots on offer both created in 2006, So Glad We Made It, sourced from an advertisement in 1979 (lot 64) and It’s the Real Thing, from 1978 (lot 65), Thomas deliberately removes all text from these advertisements, intensifying the focus on their imagery. This body of work offers a profound exploration of how Thomas deconstructs images across various themes, facilitating a nuanced understanding of the interconnected narratives surrounding race, gender, and class embedded within advertising.

    • Provenance

      Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, 2006

    • Exhibited

      American Scene Photography: Martin Z. Margulies Collection, NSU Art Museum, Fort Lauderdale, 30 October 2014 – 22 March 2015

    • Literature

      Aperture, Hank Willis Thomas: All Things Being Equal..., p. 63


So Glad We Made It

Chromogenic print.
41 3/7 x 48 5/8 in. (105.2 x 123.5 cm)
Overall 51 1/2 x 58 in. (130.8 x 147.3 cm)

Signed on a gallery label accompanying the work. Number 1 from an edition of 5.

Full Cataloguing

$8,000 - 12,000 

Sold for $22,860

Contact Specialist

Caroline Deck
Senior Specialist, Photographs

Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Chairwoman, Americas

Photographs from the Martin Z. Margulies Foundation

New York Auction 4 April 2024