Hank Willis Thomas - an advocate of artistic expression in the face of politics


Football and Chain by Hank Willis Thomas


Artist Profile

  • Hank Willis Thomas was born in Plainfield, New Jersey in 1976, but was raised in New York.

  • Thomas is a conceptual artist that seeks to elucidate issues of mass media, pop culture, identity, and politics in regards to American race relations.

  • His works consist of mixed media, photographs, sculptures, and installations. His photographs, in particular, delve into the similarities between the past and the present which essentially prompts audiences to think of how "dominant cultural tropes continue to shape notions of race and race relations".


Experience as a Curator: March Madness

On March 18, 2016, Hank Willis Thomas and Adam Shopkorn curated a show titled March Madness which is a remarkable collection of 28 artists' works that coalesce sports into fine art. The exhibition revolved around American Sports and American Sports Culture with underlying themes of racism, sexism, politics, self empowerment, and countless of others.


"Its about how people are using sports as a metaphor and a strategy to talk about different political issues." ~ Hank Willis Thomas

March Madness by Fort Gansevoort



The Inspirational For Freedoms

Thomas, in association with Eric Gottesman, established For Freedoms which is an "artist-run, non-partisan political engagement organization". The predominant goal of the organization is to develop a community of creative individuals that are interested in using artistic platforms to express civic issues and encourage profound discussions on them.


Read more on: http://forfreedoms.org/


"It is important for artists to use their voices to engage with the issues of our time and for people to see art as not just decoration or entertainment but really as something that can help build and broaden the conversations about what we are think are important and the change that we want to see happen in our society." ~ Hank Willis Thomas

Sources:

http://artreport.com/sports-meets-fine-arts-a-conversation-with-hank-willis-thomas/

https://news.artnet.com/art-world/hank-willis-thomas-fort-gansevoort-1310291

https://www.guggenheim.org/artwork/artist/hank-willis-thomas

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