Hank Willis Thomas: unbranded

May 31 - August 10, 2019
Public Opening Reception, Friday, May 31, 6-8pm

hank willis thomasHANK WILLIS THOMAS
Farewell Uncle Tom, 1971/2007
LightJet Print
© Hank Willis Thomas. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

Hank Willis Thomas’ 2005–08 series Unbranded: Reflections in Black by Corporate America 1968-2008 decontextualizes advertising images targeted toward African-American audiences in print magazines including Ebony and Jet. For this series, Thomas appropriates and removes all branding from 4 decades of advertising photography. The result is a deceptively simple but shockingly insightful commentary on the ability of advertising to shape our cultural development and perceptions. Using the years of Martin Luther King’s assassination and President Barack Obama’s election as start and end points, Thomas challenges viewers to distinguish between the messages conveyed through text and visual imagery.