Hank Willis Thomas
Gallery News for Hank Willis Thomas
Goodman Gallery at Art Basel 2015
At this year’s Art Basel, Goodman Gallery’s status as one of the oldest and most established commercial art galleries in Africa means it is ideally positioned to present significant contemporary works by established artists, and distinctive works by new visionaries. These include South African artists William Kentridge, Kendell Geers, Mikhael Subotzky, Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin, as well as Nigerian artist ruby onyinyechi amanze and Moroccan artist mounir fatmi. We also include work of major international artists who speak to the African condition: Liza Lou, Hank Willis Thomas, and Alfredo Jaar. Art Basel 2015 provides Goodman Gallery with an opportunity to define aspects of the African moment, and to engage in the discourse about artistic practice on and connected to the continent.
Hank Willis Thomas in Colorado
Hank Willis Thomas is included in the latest Summer Series: Featured Artists & Conversations programme at Anderson Ranch Arts Centre in Colorado, US. On 2 July he was present to speak about issues in contemporary art and art making.
Hank Willis Thomas at Jack Shainman Gallery and others
Hank Willis Thomas holds a solo exhibition at the Jack Shainman Gallery from 10 April to 23 May titled Unbranded: A Century of White Women 1915 – 2015. Willis Thomas also appears on the exhibition Secondhand at Pier 24 Photography, San Francisco, until the end of May. The exhibition features artists who build repositories of found images, from which they appropriate, construct, edit, and sequence in order to create something entirely new. Other exhibitions showing the work of Willis Thomas include Terminal: On Mortality and Beauty, at the Photo Center NorthWest until 4 April, Making Histories, H&R Black Artspace at the Kansas City Art Institute until 4 April, Repetition and Difference at the New York Jewish Museum until 8 August and Remember Me at the Gallery Michel Rien, Paris, until 18 April.
Goodman Gallery at SP-Arte in Sao Paulo
For this year’s SP-Arte due to take place in Sao Paulo, Brazil, from 9 to 12 April the Goodman Gallery has the singular distinction of being the sole representative of the African continent among the galleries from 17 countries. The Goodman Gallery will present historically significant works of a contemporary nature by senior artists, as well as distinctive works by new visionaries. International artists represented by Goodman Gallery will present work within the South African context or works that reference the broader African experience. The booth brings together Carla Busuttil, Kudzanai Chiurai, Kendell Geers, Alfredo Jaar, William Kentridge, Liza Lou, Mishek Masamvu, Mikhael Subotzky, Hank Willis Thomas, and Jeremy Wafer.
Goodman Gallery Cape Town is pleased to present History Doesn’t Laugh, a solo exhibition by Hank Willis Thomas first seen in our Johannesburg gallery earlier this year, which highlights the artist’s interest in representing photographic ideas through unconventional materials.
For this exhibition, Thomas scoured numerous publications and archives looking for graphics, images and audio that exemplify, through popular culture, South Africa’s recent history. The result is a fascinating combination of installations, objects, and prints that present the visual complexities of the not-so-distant past.
A series of photo-derived sculptures cast in aluminum, silicone and bronze reframe the original image by focusing on the impact of hand gestures. In his more familiar style, the artist appropriates graphically striking political buttons and increases them in size to large-scale wall hangings. The exhibition also includes screen-printed images from various magazines, re-contextualised in a manner that exaggerates the hyper-reality of the time in which they were originally produced.
Thomas is known for his extensive use of archival visual records to work through ideas that address the social constructions of race, gender, and commodity. He uses the black body in advertising to articulate how these ideas are generated in perpetuated in consumer culture. Recognising the similarity in histories between the United States and South Africa, Thomas revitalises and enhances his techniques to compliment his traditional oeuvre. In doing so, he smartly decodes popular images with the intention of proposing and unveiling new social and cultural meanings.
History Doesn’t Laugh is Hank Willis Thomas’s first solo exhibition at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg. The show highlights the artist’s interest in representing photographic ideas through unconventional materials.
For this exhibition, he scoured numerous publications and archives looking for graphics, images and audio that exemplify, through popular culture, South Africa’s recent history. The result is a fascinating combination of installations, objects, and prints that present the visual complexities of the not so distant past.
Thomas is debuting a series of photo-derived sculptures cast in aluminum, silicone and bronze that reframe the original image by focusing on the impact of hand gestures. In his more familiar style, he appropriates graphically striking political buttons and increases them in size to large-scale wall hangings. The show also includes screen-printed images from various magazines re-contextualised in a manner that exaggerates the hyper-reality of the time in which they were originally produced.
Goodman Gallery Cape proudly presents All Things Being Equal…, the first solo exhibition in South Africa by African-American photo conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas. Based in New York, Thomas works primarily with themes related to identity, history and popular culture.
Employing the visual language and terminology of mass media, and appropriating symbols and images from popular culture, Hank Willis Thomas’ work seeks to question and subvert established definitions and positions with regards to personal identity and the narrative of race. It is concerned with history and identity, with the way race and ‘blackness’ has not only been informed but deliberately shaped and constructed by various forces – first through colonialism and slavery, and more recently through mass media and advertising – and reminds us of the financial and economic stakes that have always been involved in representations of race.
In Unbranded, a previous body of work, Thomas used images from advertisements targeting African Americans between 1968 and the present, digitally removing all products and logos from the images in order to unearth the ways in which black American identity is produced and marketed in popular culture, and to challenge viewers to ask what’s really being sold.
His B®anded series extends his interest in visual representations of race to the male African-American body, this time featuring works that deliberately use and manipulate corporate signs and logos to trace the connections between historical and contemporary commodifications of the black male body, and to examine the ways it has been employed in the service of creating wealth.
All Things Being Equal… brings together recent works by the artist that explore the legacy of slavery and colonialism, segregation and apartheid, employing subversive visual strategies to disrupt superficial notions of likeness and to find value in particularity rather than comparison.
Assuming the principle that race and blackness are radically contingent socio-cultural constructs, the exhibition addresses the idea of a particular local black experience and attempts to excavate meaning in the differences between South African and African-American blackness.
Hank Willis Thomas 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 CCA and in the MFA programs at Maryland Institute College of Art and ICP/Bard and has lectured at Yale University, Princeton University, the Birmingham Museum of Art and the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris. His work has been featured in many publications including Reflections in Black (Norton, 2000) 25 under 25: Up-and-Coming American Photographers (CDS, 2003), 30 Americans (RFC, 2008). Thomas’ monograph, Pitch Blackness, was published by Aperture in 2008. He received a new media fellowship through the Tribeca Film Institute and was an artist in residence at John Hopkins University. He has exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the U.S. and abroad including Galerie Anne De Villepoix in Paris, the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg, the Studio Museum in Harlem, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco and the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford.
Thomas’ work is in numerous public collections including The Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum, The High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the Museum of Fine Art in Houston. His collaborative projects have been featured at the Sundance Film Festival and installed publicly at the Oakland International Airport, The Oakland Museum of California and the University of California, San Francisco. Recent exhibitions include Dress Codes: The International Center for Photography’s Triennial of Photography and Video, Greater New York at P.S. 1/MoMa, Contact Toronto Photography Festival and Houston Fotofest.
Thomas is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery in New York City.
Goodman Gallery Cape Town
23 July – 29 August
Broomberg & Chanarin / Carla Busuttil / Nolan Oswald Dennis / mounir fatmi / Kendell Geers / David Goldblatt / Haroon Gunn-Salie / Alfredo Jaar / William Kentridge / Kapwani Kiwanga / Liza Lou / Gerald Machona / Lorna Simpson / Hank Willis Thomas / Jeremy Wafer
Edge of Silence is a group show featuring artwork by some of Goodman Gallery’s leading contemporary artists.
The title is taken from a light box with transparency created by Alfredo Jaar that illuminates the words ‘OTHER PEOPLE THINK’, a quote from the youthful writings of John Cage in which Cage “affirms silence as an opportunity to learn what other people think.” Jaar’s light box follows this practice with a kind of silence opens up a space for listening by disrupting our thoughts and perceptions, inviting us to step outside ourselves.
Sleeping, a recurring motif in Kentridge’s work, is used as a metaphor for a state of self-imposed blissful ignorance in which the outside world may be forgotten as the sleeper closes herself off into her internal world. This notion, coupled with the fragility and transparency of glass, evokes a dangerous situation leading to a painful, if not actually destructive, moment of awakening and recognition in Kentridge’s series of prints Sleeping on Glass.
Liza Lou’s Untitled bead canvases emphasize repetition, formal perfection, and materiality, but thrives on the tension between silent beauty and the presence of traces of bodily residue in the beaded strips that establishes many of the social themes, such as uncelebrated women’s work, that underpin her work.
Works on exhibition reference cultural moments and artistic practice that is at times interrogative, celebratory, or a means of bearing witness. Yet in all instances they complicate and remediate so as to bring about a new framework for understanding or experiencing that which exists already.
Artists include Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, Carla Busuttil, Nolan Oswald Dennis, Mounir Fatmi, Kendell Geers, David Goldblatt, Haroon Gunn-Salie, Kapwani Kiwanga, Liza Lou, Gerald Machona, Lorna Simpson, Mikhael Subotzky, Hank Willis Thomas, and Jeremy Wafer.
GOODMAN GALLERY JOHANNESBURG 28 JANUARY – 26 FEBRUARY 2015
CANDICE BREITZ / ADAM BROOMBERG AND OLIVER CHANARIN / NOLAN DENNIS / MOUNIR FATMI / KENDELL GEERS / DAVID GOLDBLATT/ HAROON GUNN SALIE/ ALFREDO JAAR / MOSHEKWA LANGA / WILLIAM KENTRIDGE / LIZA LOU / MIKHAEL SUBOTZKY /
“Imagine them reconstructing the conceptual framework of our cultural moment from those fragments. What are the parameters of that moment, the edge of that framework?” K Eshun (2003)
Other People’s Memories is a group show which explores the ways in which history and memory exist in the process of making, as well as the process of viewing, and by extension, the relationship between the artist, the artwork and the viewer.
The works included in the exhibition are the result of the artists’ relationship to something which has already happened, so that the artwork becomes an act of insertion, where the artists’ personal history becomes part of the historical, social or cultural moment which is referenced. In some instances the physical presence of the artists and their surroundings is consciously transferred to the artwork.
In Moshekwa Langa’s drawings, the artist uses string, tape and paint to map his memories and encounters. He includes domestic items like salt and wine, which he works into the fibrous paper and permeable string, so that the marks he makes are made viscerally – making overt the artist’s physical presence.
Transferral and human presence is also evoked in the beaded canvases of Liza Lou, who along with her team of skilled Zulu woman beaders, produces visual meditations on imperfect artistic production. The canvases retain traces of sweat, dirt and even blood which are testament to the fragile delicacy of her production and become a site of memory, recording the long struggle and sublime discomfort involved in the act of making.
Mikhael Subotzky’s work Sticky Tape Transfer 03 is formed through a process, developed by the artist, whereby adhesive tape is applied and then removed from images that feature in the artist’s personal history. In this delicate process, the tape picks up pigments and fragments of the original image so that a replica is formed. The pigments and fragments from the image are not all that is transferred onto the tape: dust and grime from the studio also become trapped in the glue, so that the image is made up not only of itself but also from the physical surroundings of the artist. Subotzky’s images then, become a meditation on memory itself. Like Subotzky’s transfers, a memory – each time it is evoked – is revised. Some parts are forgotten and left behind with the splinters and fragments of context replacing them.
The physical presence of the maker is made apparent in Kendell Geers’ work Foiled – where the artist has imprinted a religious figurine of Christ on the Cross on a large sheet of tin foil. Due to the delicate nature of the tin foil, the dents and folds deliberately made by the artists to demarcate the indented image are not the only marks on the material. As Geers manipulates the tin foil to create the image at its centre, his movement is picked up by the material so that the foil retains not only a visual “memory” of the devotional object but also a memory of how it came to be. The exhibition also allows for an exploration of how the artwork exists not only as something which contains the artists’ personal history – which happens in the process of making – but also how the viewer’s own history is projected onto the referred moment during the process of viewing and interpreting. Nolan Oswald Dennis’ work Tunnel 001 investigates the use of fire and what the artist terms “civil burnings” in the historical formation of South Africa.
The work consists of a plywood tunnel, the interior of which is covered in a thin layer of paraffin wax. Historical and personal accounts of how fire and burning existed in the formation of South African independence are carved into the wax. Like the foil in Geers’ work, the brittle yet stiff surface of the wax in Tunnel 001 means that in rewriting the texts, the artist physically changes what was originally written. Mistakes are made and words are scratched out, the wax breaks and obscures words, sentences run into each other and it becomes difficult to determine a precise starting and ending point. The size of the tunnel, which is just high enough to accommodate a human body, means that viewers are unable to gain perspective, and are forced by the physical constraints of the work to look at the carvings as fragments, and read the altered texts in pieces, so that each viewer has a different experience and constructs a different narrative and meaning. Where Dennis replicates and reworks texts onto a new surface, William Kentridge works directly onto archival documents, merging his drawing process into all that is contained by the archival document. Kentridge has worked with pages from an old cash book from East Rand Proprietary mines from 1906. In this way, the artist has worked the writing, texture and marks on the pages of the book into the landscapes – so that the history which the pages record becomes intrinsic to the landscape.
The archive, in this case, is directly altered by the artist’s charcoal landscapes, allowing for a rumination of the effect of the past on the landscape and exploring the tension between the reclaiming of damaged ground by the ever evolving and growing landscape – and the extent to which landscape remembers trauma. While Kentridge explores the extent to which trauma and social injustice is evoked in the landscape,
David Goldblatt considers the ways in which loss and memory are contained within manmade monuments. In his 2014 series, Structures of Dominion and Democracy, Goldblatt continues his reflection on the structures and monuments that frame a particular vision of South African history. The new series concentrates on, but is not entirely devoted to, the period after the fall of apartheid, and features images of makeshift memorials, public monuments, and artworks which memorialize moments of trauma and allow for attempts at national catharsis. The works interrogate the practice of memorializing history and the ideologies that govern this practice. Whereas Goldblatt documents and investigates the ways in which monuments are constructed amongst different groups, Alfredo Jaar works with a historical photograph of Italian artist Lucio Fontana after his return from his native Argentina to Milan in 1946. The image shows Fontana standing amongst the ruins of his studio which was destroyed during World War II. The image, which the artist sourced from the Farabola archive in Rome, has been enlarged to a 2,5 × 2,5 metres square. Beyond the evident display of destruction and loss caused by war, this image marks an extraordinary moment in history where a group of artists and intellectuals were able to overcome years of isolation and devastation and reintroduce Italian culture to the world. This group includes Fontana in visual arts as well as Rossellini, Visconti and De Sica in film, Moravia, Pavese or Ungaretti in literature and the later generation of filmmakers like Antonioni, Bertolucci, Pasolini and artists like Pistoletto, Boetti, Calzolari and countless others who illuminated the cultural scene of Italy and the world.
Jaar first showed this image during the 2013 Venice Biennale as part of his project Venezia, Venezia, which was a call to artists and intellectuals across the globe to rethink the current unbalanced structure of contemporary art display and representations of the world in general. As Jaar points out, “artists create models of thinking the world”. By alluding to the power which culture demonstrated back in 1946, the artist encourages culture to once again overcome the present social, geographical, political, and cultural imbalances still aggravating the world.
Haroon Gunn Salie begins from the point of a South African identity of Diaspora – and a history of colonialism and slavery.
Gunn Salie has produced a metal cut out of the words KOM OOR DIE SEE – a line from the popular “Kaapseklopse” and slave song Die Alabama. Working in The Belfast Exposed archive – which contains photographs documenting the Troubles in Northern Island – photographers Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin were interested in the process of selection, and the physical marks made on the photographic contact strips in the archive.Marks were made both by the succession of archivists who worked with the archive, and as the archive was made open to the public, marks and cuts made by individuals who defaced images of themselves.
The archive, then, is not only a collection of images which document the troubles, but the images themselves – they too become surfaces which bear testimony to the physical manipulation and handling of history and documentation.
In the works on the exhibition the artists have brought to light the process of selection and deletion by uncovering parts of the images which have been covered by archivists’ stickers and deleting the rest of the image. In the process of exposing what was covered and deleting what was not, the artists make over the ways in which cataloguing and selection impact on an archive. When the works are installed in the gallery the images – now devoid of their context – trigger different responses in the viewers, who must use their own backgrounds and history to make meaning of the images’ sequences.
Mounir Fatmi works within the realm of art history and visual culture. Taking the Italian Renaissance artist Fra Anglico’s painting The Healing of Deacon Justinian as his starting point, Fatmi questions the possibility of traversing ethnic and cultural barriers. A digital replica of Angelico’s painting has been printed on a mirrored surface. The painting depicts the Catholic hagiology of the Deacon Justinian, whose cancerous leg was replaced with that of an a dead Ethiopian by the saints Cosmas and Damian – twin doctors of Turkish descent who were martyred in the Catholic faith after they were beheaded under Diocletian persecution.
Fatmi places composites images of modern surgeries and trauma rooms onto the Angelico image so that the saints and the deacon appear as ghostly forms in the modern world. Like so many of his works, in Blinding Light, Mounir Fatmi does not provide the viewer with an answer or solution to ethnic and cultural barriers – but rather through a merging of media, time and origin he includes the viewer in the a process of complicating and questioning the past.
The mirrored surface of the work means that in the proccess of looking, the viewer becomes part of the layered imagery. Bodies are reflected in the parts of the work which are still reflective and hidden in the parts which have been been covered by the photographic print. Again, medium is used as a visual analogy for contemplating that which has come before, where the viewer, as in Frangelico’s painting, becomes a ghostly presence in a reworking and re-imagining of the past. In her dual channel video work Treatment, – Candice Breitz also works with insertion and reception, through revising and editing David Cronenberg’s iconic 1970’s horror film The Brood.
Breitz enlists herself, her own mother and father, and her real-life psychotherapist to inhabit and re-create a series of scenes from The Brood.
As with the Cronenberg film,Treatment resists indulging concrete autobiographical information, denying onlookers voyeuristic access to Breitz’s actual relationships with her parents and therapist, and focusing instead on the psychological horror that potentially lies within family life.
Once again the work deals with the hidden that exists underneath the observable – and asks the viewer to engage with the reference, the artist’s intention and the narrative potential of their own history being brought to bear upon the works.
GOODMAN GALLERY in association with THE BLACK CUBE SESSIONS presents the premiere of Hank Willis Thomas’ video installation Black Righteous Space. Opening 12/2/2014 at THE ALEXANDER THEATRE.
This audio activated installation is made up of three screens, placed together to form a stage. The middle screen begins with the loaded symbol of Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) flag, The original colors from the flag have been replaced with the colors of the current Republic of South Africa flag to reflect the counter cultural ideologies that overtook the principles of state-sanctioned racism that was once at the core of the country’s nationalistic pursuits. The microphone placed in the middle of stage picks up the sounds around the work and the image on the screen begins to morph and change according to the frequency of the sound. The screens on either side of the AWB logo reflect the American Confederate Rebel Flag with the colors of the Universal Negro Improvement Association flag.
The Brother Moves on will be performing in front of the stage and as the microphone picks up the sound of the performance, the images begin to change creating a visual kaleidoscope of discourses that characterize the multiplicity of voices involved in propelling the motion of history. The vibration of the audio makes its own unique abstraction out of the nationalist signs, using sound to pronounce the arbitrary nature of this symbolism. Between sets the microphone will be open to viewers inviting them to participate in the space, and to insert their own voice into the thrust of history
Goodman Gallery Johannesburg welcomes you to 2012 with Advance/… Notice, an exhibition of new works by a dynamic group of contemporary artists from around the world. As we advance into a new calendar year, this exhibition gives notice of innovations from some of our artists who are already familiar to you, and of our new ventures into an intellectual exchange with artists with whom we are excited to work for the first time. This show will also give audiences a preview of what is to come, as many of the featured artists have solo shows planned for 2012 at Goodman Gallery spaces and other prestigious South African institutions.
Advance/… Notice introduces newly perfected techniques or processes for some of our well-known artists, such as platinum photographic prints by David Goldblatt, and a completely new turn of direction and field of interest for African American artist Hank Willis Thomas, who first exhibited with us on In Context in 2010, as well as for Sigalit Landau, the acclaimed Israeli artist we co-hosted at last year’s Venice Biennale. These international savants are joined by South African artists such as Hasan and Husain Essop, Moshekwa Langa, Mikhael Subotzky, Sue Williamson, William Kentridge, Rosenclaire, and Frances Goodman revealing either brand new works, or works not yet seen in Johannesburg. Also featured are works by Kendell Geers, whose retrospective exhibition will open at IZIKO South African National Gallery in late March 2012.
Our first show of the year seems an apt time to introduce the novel and the unexpected in the work of a number of artists and to also welcome prominent figures including Liza Lou, a world-renowned American now living and working in KwaZulu Natal; South African Candice Breitz, now resident in Berlin; Chilean-born New Yorker Alfredo Jaar; London-based Iranian Reza Aramesh, as well as Carla Busuttil – a young South African artist based in Berlin who is well-established in the United Kingdom, but has never before exhibited in her home country.
Liza Lou presents a work titled Gather Forty, one of a series of forty individual sculptures made from gold-plated beads that have been expertly threaded onto four hundred individual pieces of stainless steel wire and bound in a sheaf – continuing the shift of the beadwork medium from craft to conceptual art. Alfredo Jaar, internationally recognised artist, filmmaker and architect, celebrated for the public interventions he has created all over the world, shows From Time to Time, a panel of nine Time magazine covers focusing on Africa that either feature animals or malnourished Africans – revealing how the rest of the world often encapsulates its second largest continent. Breitz, who opens a major survey of her work titled Extra! at the Standard Bank Gallery this February, presents The Character, a video installation filmed in Mumbai that seeks to understand the role and influence of child characters in mainstream Indian cinema through interviews with a group of young moviegoers. In Action 78, Aramesh uses familiar scenes from news footage of the first Gulf War to restage, re-present and destabilise any easy readings of the conflicts we think we understand. Oil paintings by Busuttil offer a sinisterly-executed perusal of the exploitation of power and cruelty.
We are also very pleased to present for the first time the work of Nelisiwe Xaba, who will be presenting an interactive dance and video collaboration with Mocke J van Veuren at Goodman Gallery Projects in February. The crossover into visual art is exciting new territory for this renowned performer/dancer.
Goodman Gallery hopes you will join us to be inspired, challenged and excited by this exhibition and its promise of advances in the visual arts of South Africa. We trust you will find the exhibition gives notice of an innovative and exciting programme for 2012 in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
“I am only interested in what’s not mine. The law of men. The law of the cannibal.” – Oswald de Andrade, from The Cannibal Manifesto, 1928
Eat Me has not much to do with food. Instead it explores relationships between works by artists that mine recent art history and popular culture, through cannibalistic processes of referentiality and consumption to uncover new directions and meanings, either critically or aesthetically. In theoretical explorations by art historian Paulo Herkenhoff and Augustus Klotz, cannibalism is seen as a philosophical process of renewal and regeneration, as well as a form of cultural emancipation.
The show brings together works by South African and international artists to discover the ways in which visual culture is harvested, consumed and given new form. Violence, suffering and eroticism are collapsed and digested to bring forth new visual discourses, and perhaps new ways of seeing.
Reza Aramesh uses familiar scenes from news footage to restage, reclaim and re-represent events and identities we think we understand. Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin recycle archival photographs from the conflict in Northern Ireland to make way for new readings and new narratives. Frances Goodman, Ghada Amer, Mickalene Thomas and Joel Andrio use the language and imagery of romance and sex to push against the constraints of popular culture and undermine its hold on our imagination.
Eat Me also features new work by Hank Willis Thomas, video installations by Tracey Rose, Sigalit Landau and Kalup Linzy, and works by Gavin Turk and Kendell Geers. While the ingredients and methods differ, the resulting works all share a concern with the problems and processes of consumption, reclamation and renewal.
‘Language’ is the system of communication, in the form of speech and writing, employed by a specific group of people, usually originating from a specific geographical area or region. Human language is inseparable from human thought and distinguishes man from animals.
Different aspects of language had become the source for many conceptual artworks by the time the group Art & Language was founded by Michael Baldwin, David Bainbridge, Terry Atkinson, and Harold Hurrell in 1968. These artists considered language to be a crucial aspect of their practice, in which they critiqued the underlying assumptions of modern painting and sculpture, formalist processes, art practices, production, and criticism. Since the 1970s, language has been seen as a means of moving from form and image-based works to a more theoretical and conceptual artistic discourse. This shift, away from the image and towards text, has led to a new relationship between image and text, in which images are translated to symbols, and symbols to text. It has meant that text – rather than image – becomes a basis for art production, which in turn has meant the appearance of ‘art as idea’.
Questioning the process of art production, American artists like Jenny Holzer have built on the traditions of conceptual and installation art of the late 1960s. Holzer developed a mode of textual art during the 1970s, using electronic signs and various printed media to explore language and text as a form of art. Her ‘Inflammatory Essays’, conceived in the late 1970s, are indicative of the way in which she has created a division between text and image. Prior to this, Joseph Kosuth proposed the use of text in his work as means of replacing painting, exploring the production and role of language and meaning in art. Text in Kosuth’s work of the 1960s facilitates a conceptual mode of production and the dissolution of the art object.
Language continued to be fundamental in the work of many American artists during the 1980s. Lorna Simpson, for example, used language as a device to move away from purely image-based photography. Simpson’s combination of text and photography allowed her to construct readings of the black woman as an erotic curiosity and, at the same time, to change the simple reading of images, and to create layers of signification in her work.
In the contemporary South African context, artists such as Willem Boshoff make works which are informed by language. Boshoff’s sculptures and dictionaries suggest a relationship with language that extends beyond the simple use of text, to a specific interest in language itself and what constitutes language as a form.
Similarly, Frances Goodman has explored the desires, compulsions, insecurities, and obsessions hidden in our use of language, saying that ‘After working with a number of media I eventually found that words and language had the uncanny ability to unnerve and get under people’s skins, in a way that visual images and modes could not … sometimes [words] are simple and clear, and yet they are often full of innuendoes and subtexts’.
Language also defines power relations, and in the colonial context, the language of the coloniser reinforced power structures and symbolised authority. Artists have often made reference to this in their works, showing the role that language plays in our relation to society and to power. Brett Murray for example, plays with words in order to critique South African politics. Kudzanai Chiurai uses posters, such as the kind used in political campaigns, , to demonstrate state violence, political unrest, and corrupted power.
Kendell Geers uses language to interrogate the art establishment and society in general, questioning our existing moral codes and suggesting new approaches. He has argued that ‘Language is a self-replicating virus that can only be destroyed by a stronger, more resilient virus. Through the mirror of the colloquial, the tongue gets twisted and forgets its place in collecting our thoughts’, and that ‘language is oppressive for it only acknowledges that which can be named. It is not the result of any particular individual’s design as much as the external manifestation of culture’.
Works by these artists and the others on this show have been chosen for their engagement with language and discourse. Sometimes this engagement is enacted on the level of form – so that words and characters become images – and at other times the engagement is an interrogation, through text, of what constitutes the image.
This winter the Goodman Gallery will relaunch its Parkwood space, which has been extensively reconsidered, both physically and conceptually. This launch will be initiated with a group exhibition simply titled Winter Show, featuring a range of luminary-status local and international artists. The show will not only present recent works by Goodman stalwarts such as William Kentridge, David Goldblatt, Sam Nhlengethwa and Mikhael Subotzky, but will also reveal a shift in the Gallery’s approach, showcasing work from around the Continent and beyond that is both explicitly and implicitly concerned with synergies and tensions between Africa and the rest of the globe. Some of the participating international artists, such as Ghada Amer and Hank Willis Thomas, are not only being showcased by the Goodman Gallery, but are now officially represented by us.
The Winter Show will act as a confluence of the Goodman Gallery’s top represented artists, as well as artists participating in In Context – a series of exhibitions and interventions currently taking place at Arts on Main and other venues in Johannesburg. Artists such as Jenny Holzer, Amer, Willis Thomas, Bili Bidjocka, Willem Boshoff and Kara Walker will participate in both shows, with the Winter Show presenting some of their more recent work. While In Context manifests an intimate and often candid exploration of the dynamics of the African continent, the Winter Show will offer a broader conceptual platform, covering many aspects of South African, African and global landscapes and conditions.
The Winter Show will elaborate on the thorny notion of the politics of representation, which Brenda Atkinson and Candice Breitz confronted in their 1999 collection of essays Grey Areas: Representation, Identity and Politics in Contemporary South African Art. The book was a direct response to the critique of Nigerian curator Okwui Enwezor, who was the creative director of the Second Johannesburg Biennial in 1997. At the time, Enwezor interrogated the practice of artists such as Breitz, Minnette Vári and Penny Siopis, intricately considering the question of ‘who has the right to represent whom?’ Now, over a decade later, accusations of misrepresentation have been revisited and reconsidered not only by Enwezor himself and those whose essays were included in Grey Areas, but by the art community at large. In Context magnifies these issues, while the Winter Show augments the dialogue, bringing new voices into the conversation.
Compelling features of the Winter Show include two of Walker’s 2009 films – which are based on narratives from archives of a bureau established in 1865 to assist African Americans with the transition from slavery to freedom – presenting the artist’s signature black-silhouette cut-out figures, which almost impossibly convey the complexities of race, gender, sexuality and power in their stilted and provocative movements. Jenny Holzer’s Purple Red Curve (2005) transmits a coalescence of master narratives through a curved electronic LED sign. Jeremy Wafer will create a site-specific wall drawing in the Goodman Gallery specifically for the show. Kentridge will present a series of new drawings produced this year as well as a maquette of the structure World on its Hind Legs, created in collaboration with Gerhard Marx. A large scale, steel version of this work will be launched at the Apartheid Museum on 8 July 2010 as part of In Context. The Winter Show will also feature an ongoing screening of all of the Goodman Gallery’s top art films by leading artists such as Kentridge and Vári.
The Goodman Gallery in Parkwood has undergone numerous physical transformations and now boasts a new showroom and a space dedicated to photographic works. We are in the process of establishing an art library accessible to the visiting public and will offer a range of educational art talks and events during the Winter Show.
With Goodman Gallery firmly established as a prestigious, world-class contemporary art institution, the Winter Show will reveal how the Gallery – beyond representing artists of the highest caliber – is dedicated to bringing an innovative programme of relevant and compelling international works to South Africa, offering audiences exposure to some of the best contemporary work being produced locally and abroad.
In Context presents a diverse group of international and South African artists who share a rigorous commitment to the dynamics and tensions of place, in reference to the African continent and its varied and complex iterations, and to South Africa in particular. The works – wide-ranging, frequently provocative – engage with a number of pressing questions about space, context, and geography.
In this gathering of artists – envisioned as a series of conversation and engagements – the question of context is posed once again, but problematised in various ways. The terms ‘local’ and ‘international’ are given new emphasis (especially at this juncture and in the context of one of the largest sporting events on the planet) and the following questions are posed: What does it mean to be a local artist in this age of the global? Do African artists wish to continue speaking of context? How do artists of the African Diaspora reflect on their distance from and proximity to home? Where is home? How have some artists living in Europe and the Americas inherited and absorbed an African heritage or sensibility, even when they have not visited the Continent? Have we reached a point in the story of contemporary art in which the term ‘African artist’ can be dispensed with or do we still require it as a marker of distance from Europe and North America? To what extent does the global art market rely upon or exploit the term to sell art in Europe and North America? Is there thus a distinction to be made between the way in which African artists represent themselves and the ‘Western’ reception of contemporary art from Africa?
Rather than present only artists from the African continent in this project, In Context also considers the works of artists who, though they may have some interest in South Africa, have not visited the country or anywhere else in Africa. Their connection to the continent might be one they have inherited from the history of slavery, or from the displacements of Diaspora and exile. The aim is to generate conversations between works and even to assess the relevance of the questions we have raised in the face of the works themselves. We may find ourselves entirely surprised by the answers. We hope to be provoked, to open engagements that overturn the concerns and themes we have offered, that render them more rather than less problematic, or that dispense with them altogether. We may indeed find that individual practice casts an entirely different light on the question of context.
In Context will take place in a number of non-commercial venues and, through a series of talks, walkabouts, and panel discussions, will promote engagement both with artists and audiences. The partners in this project take seriously the need to begin a number of collaborations that can be sustained beyond the events of In Context. They also seek to reach a wider audience than the usual gallery visitors and to promote appreciation of art through unconventional interventions outside of the traditional gallery space.
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 publically at the Oakland International Airport.
Hank Willis Thomas is an American visual photographer whose primary interested are in race, advertising and popular culture. Thomas is the winner of the first ever Aperture West Book Prize for his monograph Pitch Blackness (November, 2008).
He has exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the U.S. and abroad, including Galerie Anne De Villepoix in Paris; the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg; P.S.1 Museum in Queens; the Studio Museum in Harlem; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; San Francisco; Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut; Roberts & Tilton gallery in Culver City, California; The Gantt Center in Charlotte, North Carolina; The Bronx Museum, Bronx, New York; Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, Jamaica, New York; Artists Space, New York; Leica Gallery, New York; Texas Woman’s University; Oakland Museum of California; Smithsonian; Anacostia Museum, Washington, D.C.; Bronfman Center for Jewish Life at NYU; National Museum of American History, Washington, D.C.; and National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C., High Museum, Atlanta, and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, among others. Hank Willis Thomas’ work History Doesn’t Laugh is currently showing at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg.
2015 Unbranded: A Century of White Women 1915-2015, Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
2014 History Doesn’t Laugh, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg
2014 History Doesn’t Laugh, Goodman Gallery, Cape Town
2014 _ Hank Willis Thomas, Unbranded Series_, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Transformer Station
2013 OPP: Other People’s Property , Haverford College Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery, Haverford, PA
2012 What Goes Without Saying , Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, NY
2012 Believe It, Gallerie Pfriem, Lacoste, France
2012 Progeny , George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia
2011 Strange Fruit , Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
2011 Hope , Duke University John Hope Franklin Center, Durham, NC
2011 Scouring the Earth for My Affinity , Samsøn Projects, Boston, MA
2010 All Things Being Equal…, Goodman Gallery Cape Town, South Africa
2010 Hank Willis Thomas , Galerie Anne De Villepoix, Paris France
2009 Digging Deeper , in collaboration with Willie Cole, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut
2009 Hank Willis Thomas , Annarumma 404, Milan, Italy
2009 Light Text , Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, KS
2009 Hank Willis Thomas , Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD
2009 About Time , Galway – 126, Galway, Ireland
2009 Black is Beautiful , Roberts and Tilton Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2009 Visionary Delusions , Georgia Scherman Projects, Toronto, Canada
2009 Pitch Blackness , Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, NY
2008 Winter in America, De Saisset Museum, Santa Clara, California
2008 Untitled, in collaboration with Willie Cole, The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut
2008 Unbranded, Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
2006 Signifying Blackness, Sesnon Art Gallery, University of California at Santa Cruz, California
2006 B®ANDED, Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
2006 Unbranded, Lisa Dent Gallery, San Francisco, California
2005 Bearing Witness, African American Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2005 Family Matters, The Light Factory, Charlotte, North Carolina
2004 Hank Willis Thomas, Lisa Dent Gallery, San Francisco, California
2004 The Trade Dress: Value Judgements, Diaspora Vibe Gallery, Miami, Florida
2003 Happily Ever After, Long & Pollack Gallery, San Francisco, California
2003 Mother to Son, Texas Women’s University, Danville, Texas
2015 Edge of Silence, Goodman Gallery, Cape Town
2015 Secondhand, Pier 24 Photography, San Francisco
2015 Terminal: On Mortality and Beauty, Photo Center, North West
2015 Repetition and Difference, Jewish Museum, New York
2015 Remember Me, Gallery Michel Rien, Paris
2014 If You Build It, Sugar Hill, New York
2012 Art in Odd Places, 14th Street, New York, NY
2012 Contemporary Memories , Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT
2012 When Attitudes Become Form Become Attitudes , Wattis Institute, San Francisco, CA
2012 Beyond Beauty , Twig Gallery, Brussels, Belgium
2012 United States , Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT
2012 What Do You Believe In , New York Photo Festival, 2012
2012 Making History , Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt Germany
2012 CPT: Time, History and Memory , Gallatin Galleries, New York
2011 Untitled (12th Istanbul Biennial) , Istanbul, Turkey
2011 Romare Bearden Show , Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY
2011 In Context , Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles, CA
2011 More American Photographs , Wattis Institute, San Francisco, CA
2011 In Search of the Truth (Truth Booth) , Galway Arts Festival, Galway, Ireland (©ause Collective)
2011 In Focus , En Foco’s Permanent Collection, Syracuse, NY
2011 Visual Word-Poetry Through Photography , Joyce Gordon Gallery, Oakland, CA
2011 Commercial Break , Venice Biennial, Italy
2011 Involuntary , Neville Wakefield, FordProjects, New York, NY
2011 West End , Museum on the Seam, Jerusalem, Israel
2011 Becoming , Nasher Museum of Art, Durham, NC
2011 30 Americans , Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
2011 12th Istanbul Biennial , Istanbul
2011 Posing Beauty , USC Fisher Museum of Art, Los Angeles
2011 Eat Me , Goodman Gallery Cape Town, South Africa
2011 The February Show , Ogilvy, New York, NY
2011 Elizabeth Catlett: Stargazer , Bronx Museum, Bronx, NY
2011 Off the Beaten Path: Violence, Women and Art , Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago IL
*2011*_In Context_ , Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
2011 T_XT_RT , Jenkins Johnson Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2011 BAsics: A Celebration of Revolution and the Vision of a New World , Harlem Stage, NY,
2010 Huckleberry Finn , Wattis Institute, San Francisco, CA
2010 Greater New York 2010 , PS1, Queens, NY
2010 Unfixed , Center for Contemporary Art, Dordrecht, Netherlands
2010 Global Africa , Museum of Art and Design, New York, NY
2010 Africa: See You See Me , Museu da Cidade Pavilhão Preto, Portugal
2010 IIIrd World Festival of Black Arts and Culture , Dakar, Senegal
2010 Progeny Two , Gantt Center, Charlotte, NC
2010 Posing Beauty , Williams College of Art, Williamstown, MA
2010 Pictures & Statues. Country Club , Cincinnati, OH
2010 In Context , Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
2010 After 1968 , Bronx Museum, Bronx, NY
2010 Houston FotoFest Biennial , Houston, TX
2010 CONTACT Toronto Photography Festival , Toronto, Canada
2010 An Autobiography of the San Francisco Bay Area Part 2 , SF Camerawork, San Francisco, CA
2010 Hard Targets , Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH
2010 Wildly Different Things , Blue Leaf Gallery, Dublin, Ireland
2010 Beg, Borrow, Steal , Rubell Family Collection, Miami, FL
2010 Posing Beauty , Art Gallery of Hamilton, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
2010 Autobiography of the Bay Area , Part 2, SF Cameraworks, San Francisco, CA
2009 The Black Atlantic , ar/ge kunst, Bolzano, Italy
2009 1969 , PS1, New York, NY
2009 Unnatural Rubber , The Warhol Museum, Pittsburg, PA
2009 The Moving Image , Orange County Museum of Art, Orange County, CA
2009 ICP Triennial: Dress Codes , ICP, New York, NY
2009 Posing Beauty , New York University, New York, NY
2009 New York Photo Festival , Powerhouse Arena, Brooklyn, New York
2009 Collected. Propositions on the Permanent Collection , Studio Museum in Harlem, New York
2009 Double Exposure , DePaul University Museum, Chicago, IL
2009 SIGN/AGE: Fight the Power , Armand Bartos Fine Art, New York, NY
2009 African Americana , The Brennan Gallery, Jersey City, NJ
2009 Connections , Jenkins Johnson Gallery, New York, NY, San Francisco, CA
2008 Unchained Legacy, Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, MA
2008 After 1968, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia
2008 Global Africa, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA
2008 From Taboo to Icon: Africanist Turnabout, Ice Box Projects Space, Philadelphia, PA
2008 We’re All in this together, Swarm Gallery, Oakland, CA
2007 Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, Von Lintel Gallery, New York
2007 Ad | Agency, Photographic Resource Center, Boston, MA
2007 Branded and on Display, Krannert Art Museum, Champaign, IL
2007 MASH, The Helena, New York, NY
2007 For the Love of the Game, Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT
2007 Keep the Change, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Brooklyn, NY
2007 Visual Alchemy, Oakland Art Gallery, Oakland, CA
2007 Negotiating Identities in Africa and the African Diaspora, Gettysburg College, PA
2007 Reasons to Riot, Memphis College of Art, Memphis, TN
2007 Crossing the Line, Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Winter Park, FL
2007 Taking Possession_, University of Arkansas, Little Rock, AR
*2007*_Cross Sections, 18th Street Art Center, Los Angeles, CA
2006 The California Biennial, The Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA
2006 Kapital, Kent Gallery, New York, NY
2006 The Black Alphabet, Zacheta National Gallery, Warsaw, Poland
2006 Luxury Goods, Kathleen Cullen Fine Arts, New York, NY
2006 Metro Pictures, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami and The Moore Space, FL
2006 Black Panther Rank and File, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA
2006 Emerging Artists Fellowship Exhibition, Socrates Sculpture Park, NY
2006 The Whole World is Rotten, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH
2006 Double Exposure, Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT
2006 Under the Influenced = I, Bernice Steinbaum Gallery, Miami, FL
2005 Frequency, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY
2005 Day Labor, P.S.1, New York, NY
2005 Bay Area Now 4, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA
2005 Remnants, Relics, Jamaica Center for Art & Learning, New York, NY
2005 Propeller, Steve Turner Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2005 Recovered Views, de Saisset Museum, Santa Clara, CA
2005 Saturday Night/Sunday Morning, African-American Museum in Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
2005 Maximum Flavor, ACA Gallery, Atlanta College of Art, Atlanta, GA
2005 5×5, Wertz Contemporary Gallery, Atlanta, GA
2005 The GlamMore Show Revisited, PlaySpace Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2004 Salad Days, Artists Space, New York, NY
2004 Jamaica Flux, Jamaica Center for Art and Learning, New York, NY
2004 Coasticated, Punch Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2003 Missing Person’s, Pro Arts Gallery, Oakland, CA
2003 GenArt’s Emerge 2003, The Big House, San Francisco, CA
2003 POPULAR ™, Works Gallery, San Jose, CA
2003 MFA Thesis Exhibition, California College of the Arts, San Francisco, CA
2003 25 Under 25: American Photographers, Gulf & Western Gallery, New York, NY
2003 Saturday Night/Sunday Morning, The Leica Gallery, New York, NY
2002 Fuzzy Logic, Southern Exposure Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2002 Group Exhibition, Long & Pollack Gallery, California College of the Arts, San Francisco, CA
2002 Oneness, The New York Ba’hai Center, New York, NY
2002 Alumni Exhibition, Duke Ellington School for the Arts, Washington, DC
2002 Murphy & Cadagon Awards Exhibition, San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2001 Moments in Love, Intimacy and Kinship, Grand Central Station, New York, NY
2001 The Legacy of Gordon Parks, Oakland Museum, Oakland, CA
2001 Latent Discoveries, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
2001 Reflecting Black, The Bomani Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2000 Reflections In Black, Smithsonian Institution, Arts & Industries Building, Washington, DC
1999 Speak to my Heart, Smithsonian Institution, The Anacostia Museum, Washington, DC
1998 4i’s, Gulf & Western Gallery, Tisch School of the Arts, New York, NY
1998 The Family, Bronfman Center for Jewish Life, New York, NY
1994 Images & Inspirations, National Museum of American History, Washington, DC
1993 Student Exhibition, Smithsonian Institution, National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC
2013 Question Bridge Black Males , Bloomfield College Art Gallery, Bloomfield, NJ
2013 Question Bridge Black Males , Zora Neale Hurston Center, Eatonville, FL
2012 Question Bridge Black Males , Project Row Houses, Houston, TX
2012 Question Bridge Black Males , City Gallery at Chastain, Atlanta, GA
2012 Question Bridge Black Males , Oakland Museum of California, Oakland
2012 Question Bridge Black Males , Utah Museum of Cont. Art, Salt Lake City
2012 Question Bridge Black Males , Sundance Film Festival, Park City, UT
2012 Question Bridge Black Males , Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY
2011 The Black Portrait , curated with Natasha Logan, Rush Arts Gallery, New York, NY
2008 Off Color 1 , curated with Kalia Brooks, Rush Arts Gallery, New York, NY
2008 Off Color 2 , curated with Kalia Brooks, Corridor Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
2007 Off Color , curated with Kalia Brooks, Diaspora Vibe Gallery, Miami, FL
2007 International Center for Photography, New York, NY
2007 “Out of Sight” Conference, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL
2006 The New York Studio Program, New York, NY
2006 The University of California at Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA
2006 New York University, New York NY
2006 Santa Fe Center for Photography, Santa Fe, NM
2006 Santa Fe Center for Photography Seminar at Photo LA, Los Angeles, CA
2005 The Commonwealth Club of California, San Francisco, CA
2005 Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York
2005 SPE Northeast Conference, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
2005 New York University, New York, NY
2005 California College of the Arts, San Francisco, CA
2004 Mills College, Oakland, CA
2004 St. Mary’s College, Moraga, CA
2007 Media Arts Fellowship, Renew Media (Rockefeller Foundation), New York, NY
2007 Investing in Artists Grant, Center for Cultural Innovation, San Francisco
2007 Artadia Fund for Art and Dialogue, New York, NY
2007 Art Matters, Travel Grant, New York, NY
2007 Artist in Residence, Acadia Summer Arts Program, Desert Island, MN
2007 Artist in Residence, Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris, France Artist in 2007 Residence, Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, CA
2006 LEF Foundation, Supplemental Grant for Along the Way (©ause Collective)
2006 NYFA Fellowship, New York Foundation for the Arts, New York, NY
2006 Emerging Artists Fellow, Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City, NY
2006 Artist in Residence, Art Omi, Omi, NY
2006 Artist in Residence, Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT
2005 Artist in Residence, Light Work, Syracuse, NY
2005 Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, Participant Fellowship, Skowhegan, ME
2003 Barclay Simpson Award, California College of the Arts, San Francisco, CA
2002 Murphy & Cadagon Fellowship Award
2000 General Prize Winner, M.I.L.K. International Photography Competition
2000 Graduate Merit Scholarship Award, California College of the Arts, San Francisco, CA
1998 Creative Excellence Award, New York University Photography Department
1998 Artist in Residence, St. Mary’s College, Moraga, California
The Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL
The Eileen and Peter Norton Family Collection, Santa Monica, CA
The International Center of Photography, New York, NY
The Martin Margulies Collection, Miami, FL
The Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, FL
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Houston, TX
The Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA
The Rubell Family Collection, Miami, FL
The Sir Elton John Collection, Atlanta, GA
The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA
The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY
The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT
The Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, MA
2013 The Long March, Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, Birmingham, AL
2013 Untitled, from the Wayfarer Series, International Center for Photography, New York, NY
2012 The Truth Booth, Look3 Photo Festival, Charlottesville, VA
2011 The truth is I am you, MoCADA and LMCC, Governors Island, NY
2010 CONTACT Toronto Photography Festival, Toronto, Canada
2007 The truth is I am you, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA (©ause Collective)
2007 Along the Way, Oakland International Airport, Oakland, CA (©ause Collective)
2014 Chris Thurman, _Series of New Takes Old Images Suggests That Context Is The Key, Business Day Live, Johannesburg, South Africa
2014 Garreth Van Niekerk, ‘History Doesn’t Laugh’ For Hank Willis Thomas, Mail and Guardian, Johannesburg, South Africa
2010 Nadine Rubin, Flipping the Script, Wanted Magazine, South Africa
2010 Anthea Buys, Sprawling Tales of Home, Mail & Guardian, South Africa, Johannesburg
2010 Ufrieda Ho, A nose and a box to draw art lovers, The Star, South Africa, Johannesburg
2008 Robin Kelley, Pitch Blackness, Aperture
Press for Hank Willis Thomas
Hank Willis Thomas / The Boston Globe / Boston / 30 June 2015Hank Willis Thomas’s slick image masks a closed door By Sebastian Smee (167.6 KB)
Hank Willis Thomas / Campaign / United kingdom / 6 July 2015What a decade of ads say about a woman's place by Marian Salzman (117 KB)
Hank Willis Thomas / Art In America / New York / 3 June 2015Hank Willis Thomas By Jean Dykstra (271 KB)
Hank Willis Thomas / Crave Online / Los Angeles / 18 May 2015What makes a white woman a white woman? By Ernest Hardy (1 MB)
Hank Willis Thomas / The Brooklyn Rail / New York / May 2015In Conversation: Hank Willis Thomas with Allie Biswas By Allie Biswas (3 MB)
Hank Willis Thomas / The Daily Beast / New York / 3 May 2015The Black Artist Who Thinks Race Is Fake By Emily Shire (950.3 KB)
Hank Willis Thomas / International Center of Photography / New York / 30 AprilInterview with Hank Willis Thomas for question Bridge By Pauline Vermare (75.4 KB)
Hank Willis Thomas / The Guardian / United Kingdom / 29 April 2015The truth about adverts: selling the White Woman By Arwa Mahdawi (2.1 MB)
Hank Willis Thomas / Town and Country Magazine / New York / 20 April 2015101 Years of White Women in Ads by Kevin Conley (4.1 MB)
Hank Willis Thomas / www.NPR.org / Washington D.C / 19 April 2015Wordless Ads Speak Volumes In 'Unbranded' Images Of Women By NPR Staff (498 KB)
SP-Arte / Folha de S.Paulo / Brazil / 3 April 2015Equal in inequality, Brazil and South Africa lock dialogue in SP-Arte By Silas Marti (769.7 KB)
Hank Willis Thomas / Huffpost Arts and Culture / United States / 9 April 2014How 100 Years Of Advertisements Created The 'White American Woman' By Huffpost Arts and Culture (5.3 MB)
Hank Willis Thomas / Art News / New York / 7 April 2015'Advertising is fueled by prejudice': An hour with Hank Willis Thomas By M.H. Miller (528.3 KB)
Hank Willis Thomas / Hyperallergic / Brooklyn / 20 March 2015Celebrating Photographers of Color and the Collectives That Have Nurtured Them by John Edwin Maso (5.7 MB)
Hank Willis Thomas / Broadway World / United States / 27 February 2015Exhibition of Contemporary Art + Collection Opens 3/13 at Jewish Museum By Visual Arts News Desk (117 KB)
Hank Willis Thomas / The Art News Paper / United Kingdom / 17 February 2015“Through a Lens Darkly” aims to show the hidden history of African American artists using the medium By Iain Millar (100.9 KB)
Hank Willis Thomas / The Wall Street Journal / New York / 25 June 2014No Longer Empty's 'If You Build It' Opens at Harlem's Sugar Hill: Group Holds Exhibits In Places That Rarely See Contemporary Art by Jessica Dawson (377.5 KB)
Hank Willis Thomas / Art South Africa / South Africa / Issue 4 / June 2014Hank Willis Thomas, History Doesn't Laugh by Thsolofelo Moche (596 KB)
Hank Willis Thomas / Business Day Live / Johannesburg / 6 March 2014Series of new takes on old images suggests that context is the key by Chris Thurman ()
Hank Willis Thomas / Mail & Guardian / Johannesburg / 4 March 2014'History Doesn't Laugh' For Hank Willis Thomas by Garreth Van Niekerk ()
Hank Willis Thomas / Time Lightbox / United States / 19 April 2011Erasing Type: Hank Willis Thomas on What Advertisements are Really Saying by Time Photo Department (239 KB)
Hank Willis Thomas / Wanted Magazine / South Africa / May 2010Flipping the Script by Nadine Rubin Nathan (5 MB)