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  • "All my work is about framing and perspective, history and context. How do I shine a light on history in a different way, making the moments feel current and allowing a new relationship to them? And then I was looking at this material called retroflective—even the name implies looking back." —Hank Willis Thomas

    In his retroreflective works, Hank Willis Thomas employs an unconventional medium to force an active engagement with the viewer. Thomas appropriated archival photographs of the struggle for civil rights and printed them on a specialized reflective material designed for road signs. The resulting images are light-activated, and are only fully visible through flash photography or special illumination. Like the subjects documented, She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry is its own call to action, entreating the viewer to uncover and discover by presenting a latent image that transforms upon direct interaction with light.

    • Provenance

      Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

    • Artist Biography

      Hank Willis Thomas

      American • 1976

      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.

      View More Works


She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry

Unique screenprint on retroreflective vinyl, mounted.
20 3/8 x 29 1/4 in. (51.8 x 74.3 cm)
Overall 22 x 30 3/4 in. (55.9 x 78.1 cm)

Full Cataloguing

$20,000 - 30,000 

Sold for $27,720

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department
+1 212 940 1225
[email protected]


Vanessa Hallett
Deputy Chairwoman, Americas and Worldwide Head of Photographs
+1 212 940 1243
[email protected]


New York Auction 7 October 2021