Artist

Hank Willis Thomas

(1976) American
Hank Willis Thomas

Biography


Hank Willis Thomas was born in 1976 in Plainfield, New Jersey, and holds degrees from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and the California College of the Arts. Since 2003, his work has focused on the intersection of race, class, and history through the language of advertising. In the series B®ANDED, he conflates the historical branding of slaves with the terms of contemporary corporate sponsorship. In these manipulated photographs, he adopts marketing methods to demonstrate the pervasive practice of using the black body as a platform for commerce. In the series Unbranded, Thomas uses advertising materials from 1968 to 2008 to examine the cooption of African American styles for commercial ends.
Thomas's photographs are in the permanent collections of such museums as the Brooklyn Museum; the High Museum of Art in Atlanta; the Museum of Fine Art in Houston; and the Whitney Museum of Art. His monograph, Pitch Blackness, was published by Apeture in 2008.
Mary O'Donnell Hulme
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