NINA CHANEL ABNEY | DERRICK ADAMS | SADIE BARNETTE | ZOE BUCKMAN | BETHANY COLLINS | NOLAN OSWALD DENNIS | OMAR VICTOR DIOP | TITUS KAPHAR | KILUANJI KIA HENDA | YASHUA KLOS | GERALD MACHONA | TOYIN OJIH ODUTOLA | EBONY G PATTERSON | ADAM PENDLETON | JODY PAULSEN | TABITA REZAIRE | JACOLBY SATTERWHITE | SHINIQUE SMITH
In keeping with our mission to investigate critical moments in the interconnected histories of global black life, Goodman Gallery is pleased to present To Be Young, Gifted, and Black the next edition of the ongoing series Working Title, an exhibition curated by one of our most thoughtful and provocative artists, Hank Willis Thomas.
Taking inspiration from Nina Simone’s iconic song To Be Young, Gifted, and Black (1969), written in memory of playwright Lorraine Hansberry, the author of Raisin in the Sun (1959) who died in 1964 at the age of 34, To Be Young, Gifted, and Black is about our moment, looking back at theirs. What lies between their Civil Rights and our #BlackLivesMatter? All over the world we cry out ever more fervently that our lives matter, even as evidence mounts supposedly to the contrary. However, we ourselves have never been in doubt of this truth, as Simone’s powerful words attest. She shares other great truths, singing that When you’re young, gifted, and black / Your soul’s intact, and, To be young, gifted, and black / Is where it’s at.
To Simone, these affirmations—these unique gifts—of soul and belonging, gained because of one’s race, age, and abilities, not in spite of, are fact. So too, to the artists in To Be Young, Gifted, and Black. Speaking both to the spirit of the song and of our times, they highlight the timeless matter-of-factness of Simone’s words, as well as a conscious contemporary need to hear, feel, and state her assertion boldly and loudly, unapologetically and with gusto.
Hank Willis Thomas is a conceptual artist working with themes related to identity, history and popular culture. He received his BFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and his MFA in photography, along with an MA in visual criticism, from California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco.
Thomas has acted as a visiting professor at the MFA programs at Maryland Institute College of Art and has lectured at Yale University, Princeton University and the Musee du Quai Branly in Paris. His work has been featured in several publications including 25 under 25: Up-and-Coming American Photographers (CDS, 2003), as well as his monograph Pitch Blackness (Aperture, 2008). He received a new media fellowship through the Tribeca Film Institute and was a 2011 fellow at the W.E.B. DuBois Institute at Harvard University. He has exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the U.S. and abroad and his work is in numerous collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Brooklyn Museum and Museum of Modern Art. His collaborative projects have been featured at the Sundance Film Festival and installed publicly at the Oakland International Airport.