Tag Archives: Hank Willis Thomas

Modern Art Monday Presents: Hank Willis Thomas, Liberty

Liberty
Liberty (2015): Fiberglass with Chameleon Auto Paint Finish (Photo By Gail)

In Liberty, Hank Willis Thomas renders a two-dimensional image as a three dimensional sculpture — modeled after an original photograph that appeared in Life Magazine in 1986, which featured a Harlem Globetrotter in front of the Statue of Liberty, spinning a basketball on his finger. Interested in popular culture, photographic history and sports as a metaphor for individual and collective struggle, Thomas created a life-size sculpture of the moment by casting the arm of retired NBA All-Star, Juwan Howard.

Liberty is part of Thomas’s Punctum series, which draws inspiration from the French philosopher Roland Barthes’s idea of the punctum: that “element which rises from the [photographic] scene, shoots out of it like an arrow, and pierces,” Using this concept as his foundation, Thomas selects a specific area of an image and re-presents it as Sculpture. Through cropping and isolation, he encourages us to contemplate framing itself: what is left in or out of a photographs, narrative, or an account of a historical event, and why?

Photographed in the Brooklyn Museum.

 

Hank Willis Thomas What Goes Without Saying at Jack Shainman Gallery

Hank Willis Thomas I Like Dick
All Photos By Gail

Jack Shainman Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of What Goes Without Saying, Hank Willis Thomas’ third solo exhibition with the gallery. The show includes photographs, sculpture, painting and new media, all which delve into the construction of mythologies embedded in popular culture.

Hank Willis Thomas Assorted SignsKnown for his innovative use of advertising, the differences here is the globally ubiquitous language, he builds complex narratives about history, identity and race. This show brings together several facets of Thomas’ practice to explore objects and language, torn from their history, brought to our present, and repurposed to reveal the process of their agency.

Hank Willis Thomas Believe It

The works in What Goes Without Saying draw from a section of Roland Barthes’ book, Mythologies, to explore the ideas of explicit and implicit representations found in objects, gestures and phrases. By separating language from the advertising in which it appears, he effectively deconstructs the relationship between the reader and viewer.

Hank Willis Thomas Smoking Slogans In Thomas’ new carborundum works, part of the Fair Warning series, he takes text from cigarette advertising in magazines from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, retaining the font while abandoning the accompanying visuals. The decontextualized slogans like Stronger Yet Milder, Measurably Long  and Immeasurably Cool come to stand for more than just a cigarette, highlighting the adjectives used to connote power and elegance, often times with a sexual tone.

Hank Willis Thomas I Am The Greatest Button

What Goes Without Saying focuses on subtext, shifting meaning and the complexity of historical actions embedded in visual culture. These ideas are important in the context of the current election and the theater of the campaigns.

Hank Willis Thomas’s What Goes Without Saying will be on Exhibit Through November 17, 2012 at Jack Shainman Gallery, Located at 513 West 20th Street, NYC. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

Hank Willis Thomas Goes Without Saying Exhibit Sign

Hank Willis Thomas 3 Signs